After reviewing our notes and feedback from the tournament week, and results from a post-tournament survey, the HWSA Board today approved several changes to the eligibility rules and team roster guidelines for future years’ tournaments:

  1. Roster Alternates were added: The lead-time required to print our tournament programs sometimes creates challenges in early roster selection and submission, particularly if players are injured later in the season, or are unable to make the trip to Florida for the tournament. As a mitigating change, in addition to listing up to 18 players on the active team roster, teams may now also list up to 3 “alternates”, who can be activated 1:1 in place of active-roster players who will not be competing in the tournament. These rules are now specified section 2.2 of the Eligibility rules:
    • All alternate players must also be eligible according to our Eligibility rules Section 3.
    • No players will be eligible to participate in the HWSA tournament whose names are not submitted on this roster.
    • At the start of the tournament, the coach for each team shall (a) certify to the Tournament Director and other coaches that only players listed on the team roster will participate in the tournament, and (b) inform them of any alternate(s) which are being activated for participation, along with the active-roster player being deactivated for each such case.
    • Alternates may only be activated prior to the start of tournament play;
    • Active-roster players who are deactivated, and alternates not activated, are ineligible to play in the tournament.


  2. Rules governing grade level were adjusted: given the benefits of grade level flexibility present in homeschooling, the rules governing grade level were simplified, while still being defined to ensure no player over school-year age 18 can participate in the tournament. A few notes on this change:
    • Players must still declare an athletic grade level of 8-12 to compete at the HWSA, and these will continue to be listed on the team rosters in the tournament program.
    • We will continue to honor seniors in the tournament program on the senior page adjacent to each team’s roster, for players who are choosing to (or for whom the age criteria) make the current year their last year of high school baseball.


  3. A School Competition rule was added to ensure continuity of the purpose of the HWSA in the ever-changing interplay of school sports teams and homeschool athletes. The following language has been added as Eligibility rule 3.3.i:
    • [Players] are competing exclusively for the team rostering them for the HWSA when competing against school baseball programs in the current school-year season, as defined in their home state, (i.e. they do not play for any other program in games against school baseball teams. “Summer ball” and “showcase” events are not considered school baseball competition, regardless of opponent; participation in these events outside their homeschool team does not disqualify players from the HWSA.) (School Competition rule);


  4. A rule governing team participation was added to formalize the long-standing norm of the HWSA that players rostered for the tournament have been competing for the team throughout the spring season in addition to their play in Florida. The following language has been added as Eligibility rule 3.3.j:
    • [Players] have participated in the majority of team events (more than 50%) in the spring season leading up to the HWSA tournament (Participation rule);


As always, the goal of the HWSA Board is to monitor and optimize the rules and processes for the tournament, based on feedback from participating teams and families, as well as changing rules in the game. In this way we evolve the tournament experience to continue to maximize fairness in competition, efficiency in operation, and alignment with the homeschool baseball community we serve. Please contact us if you have questions about these rule changes or any aspect of our tournament…