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   PONY News


Age change cutoff

 PONY's Board reaches compromise decision on age change cut off for 2006

Washington, PA - The PONY Baseball and Softball International Board of Directors has reached a compromise decision on the age determination date for baseball. They have voted, unanimously, to allow each Zone their choice of either July 31 or April 30 as the age determination date. This will be effective for the 2006 season only. The girl’s softball age determination date remains January 1.  

The North Zone, West Zone, European Zone and Mexico will continue to use July 31 and the East Zone, South Zone, Caribbean Zone and Asia Pacific Zone will use April 30.

"This has been a very difficult decision, however, this one year compromise appeals to most sides of the issue and will allow us to assess the need for change as an organization after one year," stated Abraham Key, President and CEO. "There was significant resistance to change in some geographic areas of the country and pressure to change in other parts of the country. Anytime you have an issue of this magnitude, a compromise must be sought, the issues weighed, the impact evaluated and a decision made. This is not the perfect answer, but one that we will have to live with for one year while we evaluate the future impact of the age determination date on the organization and youth baseball." Tournament play will not be affected until the championship rounds at each World Series. Pool play will be divided as equally as possible relative to each Zone’s age determination date. World Series championship rounds will match teams with different age determination dates.

"There are significant philosophical opinions based on geography," said Joe Gagliardi, West Zone Vice President and Chairman of the Board. "I thought it was prudent to try and meet with a smaller group of divergent opinions. In the end it became apparent that two dates were acceptable for one year. This will allow our membership to continue to provide a great baseball experience for our players."

The International Board of Directors tabled this issue in October, and a Special Committee was formed for the sole purpose of trying to solve the issue of the age determination date. That Special Committee met this past weekend and after lengthy discussions agreed to the present proposal for one year. At the conclusion of the 2006 season our Board of Directors hopes to make final determination on the age date.

"Our organization has worked very hard to study this issue the past several years. We have met and talked with many of our member organizations in an attempt to build a consensus on this issue," concluded Key. "In the end it became very apparent that a single date was not feasible and that two dates, at least for one year, was the best solution."

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