2017 USA Softball of Illinois Rules


The USA Softball Association is the governing body of softball in the United States.  The Association is directed by a Commissioner’s Council which is made up of softball leaders from all 50 states and 20 metropolitan areas.  The National Office of  USA Softball is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  In addition to housing Executive Director Craig Cress and his staff, the Oklahoma site also is home to the USA Softball National Hall of Fame.


Our Illinois Association follows the Constitution and Bylaws of the USA Softball Association of America.  The Official Guide and Rule Book of the national organization includes the most important rules and bylaws of softball.  If any direct conflict exists between state and national rules, the national rules have precedence.  These can be found at www.softball.org.


One of the purposes of our Brochure and Handbook and our website is to spell out some specific rules of our Illinois organization.  These are the rules that seem to be of most concern to our managers and players.  We refer to the USA Rule Book for most of your questions, but some “special rules” for Illinois classifications and competition are included herein.  Complete rules can be found at www.illinoisasa.org.  We note that Chicago Metro has their own USA/ASA organization.




  1. General

    A.  Authority

    1. Any National USA rule change will take precedence over a State rule (see USA guide).  Each State or Metro has their own classification system.

    2. THE USA of Illinois Executive Committee has the authority to rule on the classifications of players and teams.  Their decision will be final unless overridden by the National USA.


      1. Divisions

  1. USA of Illinois “MAY” conduct and/or sanction tournaments and/or competition in the

          following divisions:  Some of these tournaments may be Invitational only.

            Division                                                                 Classifications

    1.  Men’s Fast Pitch                                                     “B”, “C” (Invitational), Woodbat

    2.  Women’s Fast Pitch                                             Invitational based on need

    3.  Men’s Slow Pitch                                                “C”, “D”, “E”  (Invitational)

    4.  Women’s Slow Pitch                                           Invitational based on need

  1. Men’s Industrial                                                  Invitational based on need

  2. Men’s Church Slow Pitch                                   Invitational based on need

  3. Co-Ed                                                                 Invitational based on interest

    8.   Youth Junior Olympic Girl’s Fast Pitch              10-U, 12-U, 14-U, 16-U, 18-U (“A” & “B”)


    C.  Eligibility

    1.  In adult divisions of play, a player may play in any state or metro association during the current year.  If a player chooses to play in a state or metro outside of his/her residence, he/she is ineligible for all play in his/her state of residence.  (Exceptions:  Employment transfers, pick-up players, Men’s Masters Fast Pitch)

  1. A team MUST register with the State/Metro Association in which the greatest number of

          players reside both in youth and adult divisions.

  2. Foreign players may or may not be eligible to play in USA Championship play and our state invitational tournaments.  Foreign players are defined as citizens of other countries,  non-US citizens who may or may not have a history of playing for a foreign team.






    4.   A player may participate on only one team within a division of play during championship play.  EX:  You could play on one fast pitch and one slow pitch team, but could not play on a Class “A” slow pitch and Class “B” Slow pitch team.   *See footnote exception.  You can compete with a church, industrial and co-ed slow pitch as well as with one of the other divisions of slow pitch “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “E”.

  1. A player may move up to a higher classification of play prior to July 15 of the current year if they have not competed in a tournament series.    *See exception in footnote.

  2. Players returning from active military service (not National Guard) may be added to the current year’s roster provided he/she was a resident of that affiliated association area prior to his/her service and meets all other eligibility requirements.

  3. When a team member is called into the military (not National Guard unless for at least 90

          days), he/she may be replaced provided the replacement player meets all eligibility requirements.  This refers to those players leaving for service after the roster has been submitted.  No player may be added after the designated deadline.

    *Footnote:  Unrestricted men’s fast pitch players can play in the men’s major national tournament and in their own state division of play within the same year.  Likewise, slow pitch men can play in the “A” National and in their own division that same year.   Also, slopitch teams may use up to 3 “Add Ons”.


    D.  Reclassifications

                       1.   A player who was not a regular on a slow pitch team the previous year and who was on the State tournament roster may apply in writing to the Executive Committee to be reclassified.  Reclassification is not automatic and must be approved by the Executive Committee. 

                       2.   Except for Men’s Fast Pitch, state tournament participants are not allowed to play in a lower classification the following year without permission of the Executive Committee.  EXCEPTIONS:  For fastpitch, see #4 below.  For slopitch, see III-A-3 on page 11.

                       3.   No more than five players who have been reclassified may join any one team in a given year.  Exception:  If any one team is reclassified after a six-month or one-year review, the players may compete on that team.  BUT no more than five players could go to another team.  Teams forced to advance and then reapply for reclassification is covered in another section.  If player was over 40, the team could appeal for up to two additional players.

                       4.  Fast Pitch Classification

                             a.  Only pitchers are classified for all Men’s Illinois USA State Invitational Tournament 

                          games.  If ASA Championship Play Tourneys are held, these guidelines are in effect.

                                  i.  Major (“AA”) and Class “A” players who made All-American the previous year

                     cannot play in “B” or “C”.

               ii.  Players that are on a team (except non-regulars) that win another organizations National Tournament must play Major or  “A” in Illinois USA Championship Play the following season.

          b.  All pitchers shall retain the same classification they held at the conclusion of the 2015

               season unless they are granted reclassification by the Illinois ASA Executive Committee or the National Office.

                             c.   Request for pitcher reclassification will be acted upon by the Executive Committee in

                                  December or the Commissioner’s Council Meeting in March or no later than June 15, 2016.  NOTE:  National Office now classifies ALL players.

                             d.  Pitchers are allowed to drop only one level of classification each year.  Example:  With approval from Executive Committee, pitchers can drop from “AA” to “A” in 2015, then with approval can drop to “B” in 2016.

                       5.   A former professional athlete or suspended athlete may apply for reclassification at any time. However, if approved, he would not be eligible if the application was received after the roster deadline of the current year for any of the various divisions.

                       6.   National ASA pitcher and player classifications override our Illinois fastpitch classifications.






    E.  Rosters

               1.    Only rosters submitted on an official USA national roster form will be recognized.  State

                       or area commissioners may make common sense rulings in case of mailing

                       problems in regard to roster deadlines.

               2.    All player memberships will be void after December 31 of each year.  They may sign with

                       any eligible team the following year.

    3.    Players may sign only one USA roster for each division of play.  Signature on roster

    constitutes playing.  If a name inadvertently gets on two rosters, the situation must be resolved prior to tournament play.  The first signing is recognized by the USA.       


    II.  FAST PITCH DIVISION RULES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  1. Men

                 1.  Rosters

                       a.   Fast Pitch rosters are limited to 20 players.                   

                       b.   Fast Pitch teams may pick up a maximum of three players (not to exceed the 20-player maximum).  These players may be added after State Tournaments from Registered USA team rosters.  See National USA Guidelines for Major Divisions.

                       c.   Pick-up players that advance from State Tournaments with the team that qualifies for National Tournaments will be allowed to return to their own team or another team for the next season and remain the same Class unless his/her whole team that they played with the previous year is reclassified by the Commissioners’ Council.  The same applies to all divisions.

                 2.  Team/Player Eligibility

                       a.   Teams may compete in another organization’s state tournaments leading to a National Championship as long as they fulfill all their obligations in the USA tournament.  Teams will not be forced up in classification because of their participation.  Exceptions:  See number 4, page 10.                

                       b.   Pitchers may drop only one class per calendar year with or without proper roster notation.

                       c.   Teams that advance to National Tournament must follow National player classifications.                                                                                                                           

  2. Women (Major, “A”, “B”)

    1.  Women’s Fast Pitch State Tournaments, if needed, will be Invitational with all teams regardless of classification being allowed to participate.  If teams advances to National they must follow National player/team classification lists and rules.


                 III.  SLOPITCH DIVISION RULES  (both men and women, except as noted)

          A.    Rosters

                 1.  Slopitch rosters are limited to 20 players, including pick-ups.

                 2.  Slopitch teams may pick up three additional players to advance to the next tournament.  Pick-ups must come from own local association.  Same rule applies to pick-up players allowed to return to own team the next year.

                 3.  Teams may also roster up to 3 “add-on” players from the next highest classification.  For example, C teams can utilize 3 B players, etc.  However, “add-on” players can play ONLY in that one class during the season.

                 4.  To monitor downward movement of players via the “add-on” rule, slopitch players can now be designated with a “Plus”.  For example, B Plus players cannot be used as “add-ons” in C, C Plus players cannot be used as “add-ons” in D and D Plus players cannot be utilized as “add-ons” in the E state tournament.  NOTE:  C Plus players cannot play in our Illinois ASA Invitational Class C Coed State Tournament.

                 5.  USA Illinois has compiled a Data Base of all slopitch players with listings of B, C Plus, C, D plus, D and E.  Our Illinois Data Base is slowly being merged into the National Data Base.  For the present, the Illinois Data Base is posted on our website and that is the data base that

               will be used to monitor rosters at this years various slopitch state tournaments.

                    6.  Team and/or player reclassification requests should be submitted to one of the adult Illinois ASA commissioners listed elsewhere in our Brochure and on our website.  Requests must be received by April 1st and action will be taken by the Executive Committee at their meeting on April 7 or 8.

                  7.  Concerning pick-ups, add ons and reclassified players, team rosters may not include more    

                  than a total of  five “add ons”, pick ups and/or reclassified players.

                  8.Teams advancing to National tournaments are governed by National eligibility rules .


 NOTE:  Under ordinary circumstances, THE ASA NATIONAL RECLASSIFICATION COMMITTEE AND THEIR DECISIONS ON PLAYER CLASSIFICATIONS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER OUR ILLINOIS ASA DATA BASE and NATIONAL CLASSIFICATIONS WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR ALL NATIONAL TOURNAMENtS.  However, many of our state tournaments in Illinois are Invitational Tournaments and the Illinois data base will be in effect for those tournaments.  It is worth noting that any team that participates in one of our invitational tournaments and then advances to a corresponding USA National tournament must adjust their roster to satisfy national classification rules.  Finally, it should be noted that the Illinois uSA Class C National Tournament Qualifier also serves as our “C” state championship .  That tournament will again be in Rock Island and the national reclassification data base will be in effect for that tournament.   


B.  Team Reclassifications

1.  Teams posting 0-2 or 1-2 record in state tournament play may request reclassification to

drop down a class for the next season.  Final decision made by the Executive Committee.

2.  Concerning reclassification requests, the area Vice President can appoint a local committee to

help him/her make a recommendation to the Executive Committee.

     3.  The Mens Class C Slopitch State Tournament and National Qualifier will again be in Rock 

      Island this summer.   The top two teams in that tournament will advance to the National  

      Tournament in Oklahoma  City in August. 


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