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No Entry Refund? Here's Why

April 1, 2023

By Dave Dowell
SSUSA Master Scheduler

     Many players wonder why Senior Softball USA does not call a tournament based on a weather forecast.

     There are two issues when adverse weather is possible during Tournament Week.

     The most significant is how SSUSA makes the daily “play/no-play” decision on whether we play that day. There are a couple of things we DON’T do: We don’t cancel a day’s play or a tournament based on a forecast.

     All “play/no-play” decisions are made at the fields of play at game time. This ensures that the teams are present and ready to play if it’s a go and are available to hear the recovery plan if play is only delayed.

We also wait until we have been briefed by the park personnel regarding the time and effort reasonably required to get the fields ready to play. Most often, this means a delay. Depending on how full the schedule was initially, we may just hold off a few hours and play the day as intended with a later start. If that is not possible, we may shorten the games (5 innings rather than 7 innings) and shorten the time allowed to, say, 40 or 45 minutes with the 5th inning being the open.

     Over the years, we have had a high rate of success using this approach.

     We used this approach on the weekend session (Men’s 50’s and 55’s) at the recently concluded Spring World Championships in St. George, Utah. On Friday morning, the fields were unplayable, but the parks professionals believed we could start around noon, and they were correct. So, we played the entire Friday schedule on the shortened game format and were back on full schedule with regulation games times and innings for the weekend.

     We believe, and it appears the teams agree, that playing a few shortened games and playing all of them is preferred to canceling games.

     This recovery is in stark contrast to Session #2 of the Spring Worlds for the men’s 65+ and more senior divisions.

     Session #2 was canceled in its entirety after we lost the Tuesday games and rains did not relent in time for the St. George Parks and Recreation Department to authorize play on Wednesday. St. George had an impressive crew on location attempting to win the battle with the flood waters, but it wasn’t our day to win against Mother Nature.

     In the days leading up to the tournament, we noticed an increase in the number of calls and emails wondering if we were going to cancel the event. As mentioned previously, we don’t cancel based on a forecast, so the consistent answer was: “No, we’ll see you there and make the correct decision then.”

     Some teams decided they would not play based on the forecast and before the session was canceled.

     But there are major implications on the tournament when teams begin to withdraw late, after the draft game schedules and brackets have been published.

     The SSUSA has for decades treated the entry fees as fully earned at the time the schedules are completed. Teams withdrawing after that time forfeit those fees, for a couple of reasons. It takes time and money to pay for the schedules to be re-drafted by the independent schedule consultant – for the staffing time and production costs that result. We also want to send a clear message and disincentive for those late withdrawals. They cause inconvenience and confusion and rarely, if ever, result in a “better schedule” for the remaining teams.

     In St. George, some teams who forfeited out early have asked for a complete fee refund like teams that waited in St. George for the “go/no go” decision. We have not granted those requests.

     The ten teams that departed early forced the continual re-drafting of the event, and in one case, required the SSUSA to advise one team not to come because the other teams in their division had all withdrawn.

     We are always comfortable with a full fee refund or credit in the case of an event being canceled.

     Those teams that decide to withdraw before the games or division is canceled (which is extremely rare) receive no refund. 

Senior Softball-USA
Phone: (916) 326-5303
Fax: (916) 326-5304
9823 Old Winery Place, Suite 12
Sacramento, CA 95827
Senior Softball-USA is dedicated to informing and uniting the Senior Softball Players of America and the World. Senior Softball-USA sanctions tournaments and championships, registers players, writes the rulebook, publishes Senior Softball-USA News, hosts international softball tours and promotes Senior Softball throughout the world. More than 1.5 million men and women over 40 play Senior Softball in the United States today. »SSUSA History  »Privacy policy

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