NEP changed its affiliation from Dixie Youth Baseball in the 8 through 12 age groups and from Babe Ruth Baseball in the 13-15 age groups to Dizzy Dean Baseball. In a nutshell, the reason for the change from Dixie Youth Baseball in 1998 was that DYB decided that the four "recruits" or "options" that NEP had allowed for the previous 15 years was a violation of its player selection rules. The new interpretation was not as much of a problem for NEP since NEP has and will always abide by rules. Rather, DYB's ruling that NEP would have to redistribute its players for all star play in 1998 and completely reselect league teams in 1999 was unacceptable, particularly in light of the fact that the National Headquarters did not trust local DYB authorities to enforce the transition. The truth is that there are a number of programs that allow options, but DYB has selectively ignored them. This double-standard was unacceptable to the NEP Board of Directors.
As it turned out, players and coaches made the transitions quickly and have thoroughly enjoyed the game. Eight year olds playing coach pitch (Farm League) ball are playing a much better defensive game and the scores are close. Nine and ten year olds (Minors) pitch from a mound that's two feet closer to the plate than DYB and we're seeing more strikes thrown and better hitting. Eleven and twelve year olds (Freshmen) are leading off and stealing on the pitcher and have seen a dimension they wouldn't have otherwise seen until they turned 13. Their games almost always go down to the wire and have been exciting to watch. Their success is testimony to the resilience of NEP coaches and players.
NEP also reorganized its 13-15 Babe Ruth leagues into a 13-14 year old Dizzy Dean league (Sophomores) and a 15-16 year old Dizzy Dean league (Juniors). In recent years, NEP witnessed a steady migration of players in the 13 and up age group away from the park. This occurred at the same time that an increasing number of players in this age group elected not to play recreational league ball and instead, chose to accept invitations to play tournament ball throughout the season. This is a trend witnessed by parks throughout the nation in several sports, but for the most part, our players opted to travel just down the road with full teams from the park to play Dizzy Dean Baseball in other parks as one-team leagues playing interlocking schedules to qualify for tournaments. In response to this, NEP "joined the competition" and made the change to Dizzy Dean Baseball to maintain its recreational program and provide a home base for the teams that would otherwise leave the area to form one-team leagues.
The NEP Sophomore League plays primarily within the park although allowances have been made to play interlocking games with other recreational leagues that allow only a few "options" or "recruits" to fill out the schedule and provide some diversity. On a trial basis for 1998, NEP also hosted teams that would otherwise not qualify for Dizzy Dean play as one-team leagues by allowing them to form a league to play amongst themselves and interlock with teams from other parks. These teams do not play league games against the NEP teams because of the variance in option allowances among teams in the area.
WHAT ABOUT NEP'S RECREATIONAL PROGRAM?
Without a doubt, the paramount focus of NEP's baseball and softball program is to maintain recreational opportunities for the youth of our community. NEP will not sacrifice or compromise its recreational program for any reason.
It is NEP's intention to maintain a minimum of five NEP teams in the Sophomore League, with room for three Sophomore League teams from outside the park with interlocking schedules. Upon completion of the 1998 season, this arrangement will be reviewed.
NEP has two Minors fields, two Freshmen fields, one Sophomore field, and one Juniors/Seniors field. All fields are lighted.
NEP teams are free to host tournaments at the NEP facility with prior approval of the Board of Directors. The host team will be assessed a facilities usage fee, but will be free to earn money from the gate, entry fees, and other tournament-related fund-raising as long as it does not interfere with the concession. Exceptions may be granted by the Board on a case-by-case basis. NEP will operate the concession at its discretion and will keep all earnings from it. The host team will be responsible for providing umpires, score keepers, and grounds keeping. NEP will provide facilities, lights, grounds keeping equipment, and field marking materials.
NEP might decide to host weekend tournaments from time-to-time where it provides for all tournament support from within.
Future plans, conceivably as soon as the 1999 season, include NEP as the host of a major mid-season tournament, potentially involving tee ball, coach pitch, softball, and Dizzy Dean. The magnitude of the tournament will depend upon a number of factors, to include park
SPECIFIC RULES & REGULATIONS
Refer to the NEP By-Laws and Rules & Regulations link.
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