The Homeschool World Series Association (HWSA) is a nonprofit corporation (501-c3) that endeavors to promote and coordinate an annual high school baseball championship playoff competition for eligible homeschool varsity baseball teams throughout North America, in a distinctly Christian environment.
The HWSA is dedicated to the honor of God, and activities that reflect His honor. None of us are perfect, but this organization seeks to conduct itself according to the principles provided in Scripture, as stated on this website. We will therefore strive to enforce respectful conduct among players, coaches, and fans, and to create a family-friendly tournament experience for all who participate.
Therefore, the following Rules of Conduct take precedence over certain rights of coaches, players, and other individuals under the typical “Rules of Baseball”. This is why our tagline for the tournament is “A different kind of baseball“. In agreeing to take part in the tournament, HWSA participants agree to follow these guidelines in their own conduct and that of their families, fans, and team during all HWSA activities. “Participants” shall mean players, parents, coaches, HWSA staff and directors. Violation of these rules may be cause for Discipline under that Section of these Rules (below).
1. Respect for Authority and Good Sportsmanship
a. Coaches, players and all other participants and spectators shall respect the authority and decisions of the umpires on the field and HWSA leaders off the field. A pattern of disrespect to authorities, whether by speech, demeanor or gesture, will be a discipline issue. Ejection of a player, coach, or spectator by an umpire is a serious discipline issue. Ejected players and coaches are ineligible for their next game.
b. Coaches and players shall at all times conduct themselves according to the principles of good sportsmanship. A pattern of unsportsmanlike conduct, either by coaches or players, is a violation of rules and is subject to discipline under that Section of these Rules (below). Coaches and players are expected to refrain from taunting or disrespecting opposing players, but instead to offer goodwill, congratulatory comments or handshakes to opposing players for outstanding plays. Good sportsmanship is a term commonly understood; HWSA coaches and players will be held to its highest standard. Umpires and HWSA officials have the authority to make judgments concerning potential infractions of the HWSA rules of conduct.
c. Close calls by umpires may evoke responses and “oohs and aahs” from spectators; frequently, spectators and participants give encouraging remarks to players when there is disagreement with an official’s call (e.g., saying “good pitch” or “close pitch” to the pitcher after a called ball). Comments become disrespectful, however, when directly attacking an umpire verbally, “explaining” to them why the call may have been wrong, or “staring them down”. This behavior detracts from the “spirit of sportsmanship”, the focus on good play, and most importantly, the honor of God. HWSA expects coaches, players and parents to take appropriate steps to quickly deal with inappropriate remarks, whether they come from the dugout or the stands. Serious offenses will require discipline under that Section of these Rules (below).
Teach by example the precept to “obey your leaders and submit to them” (Heb 13:17) and “to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1).
2. Protesting Calls
a. All protests must be settled at the time of the protest and prior to resumption of play. Any protest not lodged prior to resumption of play shall be deemed waived. Any protest of the final play of the game must be made before all umpires have left the field.
b. A protest may be made only for a misinterpretation of rules; protests of judgment calls are not permitted.
c. A protest must first be addressed directly and respectfully to the umpire making the protested call who shall make the Initial Ruling.
d. Either head coach may appeal the Initial Ruling to all the umpires on the field, who collectively make a Second Ruling.
e. Either head coach may appeal the Second Ruling to the Field Manager, who will consult with one or more Directors. The Director(s) will make such inquiry as they deem appropriate and then will make a Final Ruling.
f. A Final Ruling will be final and may not be appealed further. All Final Rulings must be respected and followed without further public display of disagreement. This is a matter of respect for authority (see above). A coach, player or parent who makes a public display of disagreement with a Final Ruling shall be considered a violation of the Rules of Conduct and subject to Disciplinary action under that Section of these Rules (below).
g. Directors currently or previously affiliated with any team(s), coaches, players, parents, or other participants who would be affected by the outcome of a protest shall disqualify themselves from discussing or ruling on a protest.
3. Anger, Speech, and Demeanor
Coaches, players, other participants, and parents should strive to control their spirit and demeanor, be slow to anger, and be respectful in speech. A pattern of anger, outbursts, dissension, or derogatory statements will be treated as a discipline issue (see Section below). Using words or gestures that demean any participant (including taunting, condescension/“talking-down”, or similar actions and attitudes), using words that demean any participant, or any swearing or cursing will be treated as a discipline issue.
Be “slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19); letting “no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29); and let your “speech always be with grace” (Col 4:6), “allowing no filthiness and silly talk, or course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:4). By example, be “sound in speech which is beyond reproach, inorder that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:8). “Encourage one another” (Heb 3:1) to excel, conducting ourselves “honorably in all things” (Heb 13:18), and stimulating “one another to love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24).
Remember that growth and maturity is a matter of “practice” (Heb 5:14), particularly in difficult situations.
4. Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs and other Matters
a. Consumption of tobacco in any form, smoking/vaping by players is prohibited on the grounds of the HWSA tournament complex.
b. Reckless driving to and from events is prohibited.
c. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs is prohibited.
d. Careless use, destruction or abuse of property or facilities, or littering is prohibited. Each team shall ensure that their respective dugouts and stands are clean of litter prior to departing.
e. Sexually explicit materials, provocative clothes or behavior, and sexual actions are prohibited on the Tournament grounds. The HWSA is held within short drive-time of beaches; we expect all participants, whether players, family or friends, to wear modest and respectful clothing at all times, suitable for the family-friendly atmosphere of the HWSA.
f. Jewelry on players must be removed during all practice and games.
5. Respect for Decisions of HWSA and Condition for Participation
a. The HWSA Board and its representatives shall make every attempt to make decisions in the interest of all teams and not favorable to any one individual team or individual player. However, final decisions made by HWSA concerning tournament formats, schedules, team and player participation, rules for making player awards, and other such issues shall be supported without dissension.
b. All teams, coaches, players, other participants and spectators agree to abide by the HWSA Rules of Conduct as a condition for participating in its activities.
c. A coach, player or parent who is dissatisfied with a decision of the HWSA Board or its representatives may respectfully approach an HWSA Board Member to express his or her disagreement in private and without public display. That Board Member may elect to involve other Board Members in the discussion, and if appropriate, bring the disagreement to the entire HWSA Board for consideration. Once a final decision is made by a majority of the entire HWSA Board, the decision shall be considered final. All final decisions shall be respected and followed without public display of disagreement. This is a matter of respect for authority (see above). A coach, player or parent who makes a public display of disagreement with a final decision of the HWSA Board shall be considered in violation of the Rules of Conduct and subject to Disciplinary action as specified in that Section of these Rules (below). Such action may affect that coach’s, player’s or parent’s eligibility for continued participation in HWSA events.
Violations and Disciplinary Actions
1. Scriptural Guidance
a. Discipline due to a violation of rules established by the HWSA shall be addressed in accordance with our Lord’s guidance in Matthew 18:15-17:
“And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed”.
b. Every attempt will be made by the HWSA to fairly and impartially judge the merits of each issue such that decisions can be made and enforcement carried out in a way that (a) considers the circumstances from the perspective of all parties, (b) honors teams and individuals, coaches and umpires, and (c) preserves the integrity of our testimony, knowing that we (players, coaches, spectators, and coaches) all sin and “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
2. Responsibilities of Coaches, Players, other Participants and Spectators
HWSA encourages coaches, players and parents to take appropriate steps to deal with issues of conduct in the dugouts, on the fields, and in the stands, in a gentle manner, and in accordance with Scripture and these Rules.
3. Violations of the Rules of Conduct and Responsibility of the HWSA
a. HWSA has a special responsibility to monitor violations by participants and spectators under the authority vested by the HWSA Bylaws. The Tournament Director and HWSA Directors are responsible for exercising this authority and enforcing the Rules of HWSA.
b. Umpires and the Tournament Director shall have the authority to eject coaches, players, parents, or spectators as required during the game. A refusal to leave by the ejected person shall result in forfeiture of the game by the affected team.
c. Violation of Rules may result in disciplinary actions such as player suspension, coach ejection (one or multiple games), game forfeiture, or, in the case of a serious offense, suspension from all HWSA activities. All teams, by participating in activities sanctioned by the HWSA, agree to and consent to abide by the Rules contained herein.
d. The Field Manager or Tournament Director, upon recognizing a possible violation of the Rules that remains unsettled before play resumes, may pause the game to discuss the possible violation with the umpires and coaches, and shall make a decision that is consistent with the Rules of HWSA. Field Managers with current or previous affiliations with affected teams, coaches, players, parents, or other participants may participate to mediate a resolution, but shall disqualify themselves from making disciplinary decisions. In such case the Tournament Director or other HWSA Director shall mediate. Violations which are not play-specific may be discussed at the end of the game or later at the discretion of the Tournament Director or a committee of HWSA Directors, and a disciplinary decision made accordingly.
e. Less serious violations shall be met with a discussion and a warning. Ejections are considered serious violations and are discussed in Sections (f) and (g) below. Other serious violations or continual violations and continual warnings either during a single game, or from game to game, may be met with (a) suspension of a player, coach or other leader for any or all remaining games or (b) forfeiture of games by the affected team. A pattern of violations from year to year may be met with a suspension of a player’s, coach’s or leader’s participation or suspension of a team’s participation in future HWSA activities.
f. An ejection of a player is considered a serious incident, though it is recognized that umpires are human and sometimes overreact to an unintentional situation. Nevertheless, to maintain the high standards of character to which HWSA aspires, any player who is ejected from a game, regardless of the reason, shall also be suspended for the following game, and may not take the field.
g. Any coach who is ejected from a game, regardless of the reason, shall also be suspended for the following game, and may not take the field or enter the dugout.
h. The appropriate response to a violation, if a matter of character as demonstrated by a player or coach, shall be an attempt to apologize to the affected parties in a respectful and honest manner.
1. These Rules were adopted by the Homeschool World Series Association on November 4, 2002 by the Directors of HWSA.
2. Revision 1 of these Rules was adopted September 6, 2003 by the Directors of HWSA.
3. Revision 2 of these Rules was adopted September 17, 2004 by the Directors of HWSA.
4. Revision 3 of these Rules was adopted September 23, 2006 by the Directors of HWSA.
5. Revision 4 of these Rules was adopted September 20, 2008 by the Directors of HWSA.
6. Revision 5 of these Rules was adopted May 3 & 8, 2013, by the Directors of HWSA.
7. The Rules of Conduct were split to a separate page from the Eligibility Rules on March 9, 2021.