After reading a few posts about the classification list for 2018 we thought it might be a good time to visit the process and answer some questions about the who, how, why, and what now when talking classification.
Why classify teams?
While we’re sure some believe they should be getting paid to play, the reality is that recreation is the name of the game up here in Alaska. While our A teams don’t equate to A teams in the lower 48, teams that travel are often declassed down for ASA tourneys out of state, the divisions of A/B/C/D/E are needed to have healthy leagues and tournaments. Giving teams an opportunity to play at a competitive skill level helps grow the leagues and allows for larger tournaments at all the levels.
The goal for most teams is to have fun and since winning is usually fun there is a drive to get better. Some teams get better through playing together and some through rebuilding every year and picking up better players, whichever way you go you have to expect that once your skill level eclipses the league you are playing in you will be moved up to a more competitive level of play. As a team becomes less competitive there is also the opportunity to move down.
When can classification change?
It starts locally, your association has a responsibility, just like the state, to have teams in their proper divisions as it helps grow the league and local tournaments. During the season local associations can recommend to the state Classification Board that a team be moved up or down depending on performance or other criteria such as the guidelines put in place by the State. During the season the state requires changes of classification be addressed by June 20 so that teams can make prepare for changes in State tourney locations and teams affected must be notified no
later than July 1 of each year. After the season is over teams are reevaluated locally and recommendations are made at the State meeting in December.
Who decides on theses changes?
The state classification is split into two boards:
- Northern and Central Board: made up of one representative each from Fairbanks, Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, Anchor Town and Mat-Su, and an at-large member appointed by the Alaska ASA State Commissioner with the State Player
- Southern Board: made up of one (1) representative each from Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, with the Deputy Player Representative serving as the chairperson.
What is taken into consideration when moving a team?
Performance is a prime factor when moving a team, if the team is steamrolling opponents and their +/- in net runs is high or they are losing consistently and their +/- in net runs is low they can be considered for declass. Another concern is that teams abide by the guidelines put forth by the state, these are found on the first page of the attached classification document. An example is if a team classified as Coed D from this year’s list decides to add more than 3 players from a C team, they would have to take the higher classification and play as C league during the season. Your personal classification is determined by the team you played on last year, so if the team you played on last season is now listed Coed B, you are considered a Coed B player. See the bottom of this post for more of the state’s Classification Provisions.
Can we appeal the classification?
Yes, here are the details on appeals (From State Code):
- A team shall adhere to the following steps in appealing the decision of the local
association classification board:
- Appeal in writing, after competing in two (2) sanctioned ASA tournaments, to the local association or District Classification Board.
- A team may appeal the final decision of the Local Association Classification Board to the State Commissioner. This appeal must be in writing and submitted within fourteen (14) days after the Local Association Classification Board final decision. The State Commissioner shall render a final decision within fourteen (14) days after receipt of the appeal.
State code for Classification Guidelines
A few more details about what a team can and can’t consist of, from the State Code:
ARTICLE 8 – CLASSIFICATION GUIDELINES
- To establish rules and guidelines for the classification of teams and players for
tournament and championship competition.
- To attain in an equitable manner, classification of teams at their respective level of athletic proficiency for the various levels of tournaments and championship play conducted by ASA, local, state and metro associations.
- It is the goal of the classification system to promote teams to the level of play where the team is reasonably competitive.
- The classification guidelines as approved by the ASA Northwest Council shall be the basic structure for team classification. Each local association shall properly administer the resulting procedural code. They may establish additional procedures and/or rules locally in keeping with the above purposes and objectives as long as they are not
inconsistent or in variance with these guidelines.
8.04 GENERAL CLASSIFICATION PROVISIONS:
- NEW TEAMS – It is the responsibility of the local association to classify new teams to the appropriate level of play.
- RE-FORMED TEAMS – Teams that re-form, in order to avoid upward reclassification, must have fewer than four (4) players from the previous year’s roster or a combination of fewer than four (4) players from any reclassified teams of the same level in order to be considered as a new team. Addition of players from higher classified teams will be counted as one (1) player for each level they drop. For example, a “B” player dropping to a “D” team will count as two (2) players for the fewer than four (4) rules.
- Men’s players may only drop one (1) classification on their coed current or previous team or the highest level or the highest level in the local association. Appeals may be directed to local classification board and must be approved by the State Commissioner.
- No more than two (2) Men’s Comp players on a Coed B team and no more than one (1) Men’s Comp player on a Coed C team. Exceptions must be put in writing to the local association classification board and must be approved by the State Commissioner.
- A team reclassified for the upcoming season must participate in at least two (2) tournaments in that season prior to July 29 before they can request declassification.
- Teams may apply in writing to the local association classification board for declassification, but not before June 20.
- All teams may be considered for reclassification at the end of the season relative to available programs.
- Teams traveling to post season play after State Tournament competition will have their classification reviewed by the State Commissioner before travel.
8.05 TOURNAMENT TEAMS:
- Any coed, men’s or women’s slow pitch team residing in a community or area that does not have that same classification of play, must register no lower than Coed C, Men’s C or Women’s C respectively for all tournament play. The District Commissioner, or Deputy Commissioner absent a District Commissioner, may classify tournament teams at a higher classification, but not lower. Such teams must play at least two (2) ASA sanctioned invitational tournaments to support their application to the Local Association Classification Board for reclassification to a lower class. Teams residing in communities or areas with the requested classification of play may not register as tournament teams.
- Any player(s) that elects to play up in classification on a Tournament Team shall retain the player classification of their corresponding League Team.