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Oct. 1, 2011
IT'S VEGAS IN 2012: LVSSA AND SSUSA TENTATIVELY AGREE TO HOST COMBINED CHAMPIONSHIPSSenior Softball-USA
LAS VEGAS – In a major merger that is expected to change the landscape of the sport, Las Vegas Senior Softball Association (LVSSA) and Senior Softball-USA (SSUSA) have reached a tentative agreement on the main points of a joint venture that will produce the largest tournament in the history of the sport.
The combination of the LVSSA World Masters and the SSUSA Senior Softball World Championships is expected to draw 400 to 450 teams to Las Vegas from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7, 2012.
The new name is: The LVSSA/SSUSA World Masters Championships (WMC).
“This merger draws the best from both organizations – so it will be great for players,” said Terry Hennessy, chief executive officer of Senior Softball-USA.
The Joint Operating Agreement covers the both the combined “World Masters Championships” and the April “Spring Classic Southwest Championships” beginning in 2012. The SSUSA Rules Committee has approved the final provisions and the LVSSA Board, which has given preliminary approval, will vote on a few remaining issues in its October meeting.
“We believe this will be the largest and best tournament in Senior Softball,” said George Fernandes, President of LVSSA.
Teams will qualify for the WMC by playing in the Spring Classic or any of the 60 SSUSA Qualifiers and Regional Championships. The tournament will be administered by SSUSA, with LVSSA supplying many of the field directors and helping secure softball facilities.
The Winter Worlds, which have been held in Las Vegas for the past 10 years, will be moved to Phoenix in 2012.
“Phoenix has been a great venue for the World Championships for the past five years,” said Hennessy, “and we think it will be a perfect spot for the Winter Worlds.”
Las Vegas Events (LVE), the Title Sponsor of the 2012 World Masters Championships, has been instrumental in providing the necessary support to create the largest senior softball tournament in the world.
“On behalf of Las Vegas Events, I am excited to once again host the Senior Softball World Masters Championships in Las Vegas starting in 2012,” said MaryAnne Beaman, LVE’s Vice President of Event Programming.
“Our organization was created to showcase events such as yours in the world’s most exciting city- Las Vegas. We welcome Senior Softball players to Fabulous Las Vegas! We look forward to a long-term wonderful relationship,” she said.
One of the critical issues in fashioning the Joint Operating Agreement was reaching a consensus on the rules.
Fortunately, the rules were relatively close.
A special joint rules committee is recommending largely adopted the LVSSA Major-Plus Rules and the SSUSA AA, AAA, Major rules (See Discussing the Rules on Page 11 for details).
The main rule changes are expected to include:
Home run over the limit in AAA, Major and Major-Plus will be walks, not outs. Home runs over the limit for AA remain outs.
The joint committee studied the differences in LVSSA and SSUSA rules and proposed a compromise that drew rules from each.
In addition, two LVSSA members have been appointed as permanent members of the SSUSA Rules Committee, which will meet at the SSUSA Convention in Florida in December to discuss other rule changes for 2012.
SSUSA will approve rosters and establish team ratings, with input from LVSSA.
The agreement takes effect beginning in the 2012 season.