Rule Change Enacted

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September, 2009

The NHPA Executive Council has unanimously voted to enact the following Playing Rules change, effective immediately. For the benefit of all members who may be affected, please copy/forward/mail this information to all Charter Officers, to all of your Tournament Directors and to your Charter members via Charter club officers, your Charter Newsletter, your Charter Website, etc.

The current Rule can be found in the RGS Book, pgs. 7-8, Rule 1 - PITCHING DIVISIONS; Section E - Elder Men (introductory information on eligibility).

Currently reads:
Section E - Elder Men (become eligible to pitch in the Elders Division at any time during the calendar year that they become seventy (70) years old)

Changed to:
Section E - Elder Men (become eligible to pitch in the Elders Division upon purchase of an NHPA card dated for the calendar year that they become seventy (70) years old)

Related Information: Each year NHPA cards become available for purchase during October of the previous year. For example, you can buy your 2010 card during October of this year. One benefit to new members is that they can begin pitching in Fall Leagues and/or Tournaments without having to purchase both a 2009 and 2010 card.

Here are some important reasons for the above Rules change, which applies to all Open Men who may choose to move into the Elders Division:
1 - Under the "old" rule, any male pitcher who is eligible to "move up" into the Elders Division on January 1st of 2010 must begin the Fall/Winter pitching season at a distance of 40 feet for league and tournament play, through December 31st of this year. On January 1st he may then "move up", but must first re-qualify at this shorter distance, as per our existing rule. This re-qualifying requirement and pitching distance change/transition is difficult, and is also disruptive during a league season that may have started in the Fall and will continue into the new year. The new rule, which allows Elders to "move up" right after purchasing their 2010 card (and before most Winter leagues begin), will eliminate this problem.

2 - The NHPA has received numerous concerns/complaints from first-year Elders who have not had sufficient time, after January 1, to get in the 4 sanctioned events that are required for entering the World Tournament. For this reason, some have not been able to enter the World Tournament for that first year. Meeting this requirement is especially difficult in some or our Northern Charters where severe weather/road conditions, during the Winter and early Spring months, may prevent travel to scheduled tournaments. Also, in some of the larger states, getting to a tournament may require very long driving distances. For these Elders, those 4+ months (January-midMay); allow a much smaller "window" of time than for the rest of us who have 12 months to get in our 4 required events. This change will allow our Elders an additional 3 months (7+ months total) to get in their 4 required events for entering our World Tournament.

3 - Why change the Rule now? According to our Bylaws, it would be 3 more years before a Rules change proposal such as this could be presented to our delegates for discussion and voting. This proposal should have been voted on this year, but it was not proposed by any of our members. Our Council does have the authority to initiate changes such as this; that are for the good and welfare of our members, and waiting 3 more years for this change just didn't make good sense to us. Although this change has been enacted by our unanimous Council vote, it may be overturned next year by a 2/3 majority vote of the seated delegates at the 2010 NHPA Convention in Iowa. We can't imagine, however, why anyone would be opposed to this change.

In horseshoes,
The NHPA Council