The Northwood board is actively monitoring guidance around the coronavirus from our local school districts, the city of Irvine, Little League International, and the CDC. The following frequently asked questions details our current response to the COVID-19 situation, and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
Based on the current health guidance from the State of California, the 2021 spring season will start as a practice-only season. All Little League activities will be within individual teams only for now. The City of Irvine will not permit games or scrimmages on city fields in accordance with those guidelines.
Northwood Little League has approved a COVID-19 Return to Practice Protocol that is available on our website, and has been reviewed by the City of Irvine to be compliant with the state guidance. It includes guidance around the use of shared equipment, sanitization, face coverings and modified practices to adhere to social distancing requirements. All participants must review and be familiar with the protocols. In addition, training sessions will be held for all volunteers and participants. This protocol will be updated for games at a later date.
The State considers baseball to be an outdoor moderate contact sport and has assigned it the second lowest risk level for youth recreational activities. As a result, recently released guidance indicates baseball games can be played in Orange County when the county returns to the red tier according to the state’s tiered system of COVID test positivity and case rate. It is possible that the county does not return to the red tier before the end of the 2021 spring season. The link to the current state guidance can be found here.
Our Challenger division typically requires more people on the field (i.e. buddies, parents) than are allowed under current guidance. The status of the Challenger division is still to be determined.
Evaluations are currently scheduled for February 6 and 7. They will be by assigned time slot only, and will be organized into evaluation groups of no more than 12 players at a time. We are planning as if games will be played, so our competitive divisions need to have balanced teams through a draft process.
In a normal season, practices for drafted divisions typically start the first week of February. The start of practices may be pushed back depending on how evaluations and the draft are determined. The league is aiming for upper division practices to start later in February, with lower division practices to start in the beginning of March.
In a normal season, games end at the end of May. Depending on if and when games are allowed, the season could potentially be extended into June.
Yes, registration fees for most age groups were significantly reduced in order to make baseball available to as many players as possible, and with the recognition that games were uncertain. For the youngest age group, fees were raised slightly to better reflect our actual costs, and are still the least expensive for that age group among baseball leagues in our immediate area. Challenger fees were also reduced, and continue to be less than the actual cost of participation.
In conjunction with the reduced registration fees, the league had to cut expenses around uniforms. This season, players will no longer receive pants, belts or socks as part of their uniform. We had received feedback that the pants did not fit many older players well even after exchanges. In most cases, the amount of the fee reduction is greater than the league’s cost for those items. Players on the same team will still be required to wear pants that match in color. This policy is in line with most other Little Leagues in our district.
Spring is baseball’s primary season, and thus the fees need to cover both the league’s seasonal costs as well as the ongoing costs of running the league. In a normal season, registration fees cover the following expenses:
The spring season will be starting as a practice-only season and could possibly be practice-only for the duration of the spring. We will not be offering a partial refund in the unfortunate case that no games are able to be played. Most of the seasonal costs are allocated and spent once teams are formed and are non-refundable to the league. The league must also receive enough revenue this spring to offset its ongoing costs.
We aim to maintain as much flexibility as possible with regards to the start date of the season. If teams are formed and practices start, but the season is then canceled, we will not be offering a partial refund, due to the same reasons as above.
Withdrawal requests before January 17, 2021 will be refunded the full registration fee. Withdrawal requests after January 17, 2021 will be refunded the registration fee minus $25 for administrative costs. For players in drafted divisions, no refunds will be issued after the last evaluation period. For players in lower divisions, no refunds will be issued after teams have been formed.
Picture Day will be modified to ensure only one team is on the field for pictures at any one time, and is currently planned for Saturday March 27, 2021.
There are no plans to have an Angel Day in 2021.
Opening Day 2021 is still to be determined.