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NATIONAL SPORTS ORGANIZATION RULE CHANGES FOR 2022

Rules • December 5, 2021

By Marty Maciaszek
NSGA Director of Communications and Team Dealer Division

Updated December 4, 2021

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (November 17, 2021) – The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) conducted its annual check on rule changes affecting uniforms and equipment with the national governing bodies for sports. These are some of the changes NSGA has been informed of for 2022 and we will update this as we receive more information.

USA Softball

USA softball made a rule change where any items added to the bat grip, such as a “choke-up” device, no longer must be securely attached with tape. The previous rule required these items to be taped to the grip.

USA Softball also came up with a common spec for the 12-inch fast pitch ball that will be in full effect in 2024. USA Softball worked with NCAA and NFHS on this new, common specification:

Rule 3, Section 3A: The 12-inch fast pitch ball will have the following specifications: Size: 11 – 12¼ inches, Weight: 6.50 ounces–7.00 ounces, Compression: 275.0 pounds– 375.0 pounds, COR: .470 Max, and Dynamic Stiffness: 7500 pounds maximum.

USA Lacrosse

For high school boys only starting in 2022, the home team must wear a white Jersey and the visiting team must wear a non-white jersey.

For high school girls goalies, the requirement of wearing shin guards was eliminated.

The rule requiring boys field players to wear shoulder pads designed for lacrosse that meet NOCSAE standard ND200 goes into effect January 1, 2022.

USA Gymnastics

Athletes participating in the USA Gymnastics’ Women’s Artistic Development Program will be permitted to wear bike shorts with their leotards in competition. This change provides another option as athletes could previously wear leotards or full-length unitards. Elite-level (National Team) athletes will continue to be governed by the International Gymnastics Federation’s uniform policies, which limit competition garb to a leotard or full-length leotard. Women’s artistic gymnastics is the largest of USAG’s five disciplines (women’s artistic, men’s artistic, acrobatic, rhythmic and trampoline and tumbling) and features performances on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise apparatus.

Similarly, non-elite athletes competing domestically within USAG’s acrobatic gymnastics program will also be able to wear bike shorts in competition. Acrobatic gymnastics features multiple athletes performing choreographed dance, strength and agility skills set to music. Divisions include men’s, women’s and mixed pair, and men’s (4 gymnasts) and women’s (3 gymnasts) group.

USA Hockey

USA Hockey recommends that players wear a neck laceration protector and choose a design that covers as much of the neck area as possible. While the neck laceration protector is only recommended, adding that language to the rule book may generate more inquiries regarding products on the market.

AAU Hockey

Adult inline AAU hockey players will be required to wear face protection either with a cage, full shield or half-shield.

PONY Baseball

PONY Baseball changed rule 8-C-1 (with the revisions in bold type).

Bats manufactured specifically for use in tee ball shall not be used when the ball is pitched by a player, coach or pitching machine, unless using a Level 5 or less safety ball. Coach pitch bats will only be used in coach pitch using a Level 5 or less safety ball. The penalty is removal of the bat only.

PONY Softball

Regarding the PONY Softball Rule 3, Sec. 11 on Equipment/Jewelry – All exposed jewelry such as stud earrings, piercings, non-metal bracelets, necklaces, hair beads and metal hairbands are legal. This includes medical alert bracelets and necklaces. Hoop earrings and metal bracelets are not allowed.

Other than asking a player to remove an illegal piece of jewelry, there is no penalty unless the player refuses to do so, then the player will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game. 

Dixie Youth Baseball

Rule 1.10–(c) Tee Ball Bats – Tee Ball bats will be stamped with the USA Baseball Mark and the language “Only for use with approved tee balls.” Bats stamped for Tee Ball (T-Ball) play can only be used with low compression balls due to the manufacturing standards for these bats. Any bat stamped for Tee Ball (T-ball) play cannot be used in games played using a regular baseball that is pitched to the batter in any division of Dixie Youth Baseball.

National Amateur Baseball Federation

The NABF patch will no longer be required on the jersey.

Little League Baseball and Softball

The Little League® Official Uniform Patch is the only recognized identification which sets a Little Leaguer® apart from all other children who play baseball or softball. Rule 1.11, which outlines the patch requirement, will be in effect for the 2022 season. New for 2022, Little League International has established a new, unified patch that reflects all levels of the program. This patch, which matches our new Little League logo, can be used, regardless of the division of play, on your league’s uniforms, including umpires.

“Rocker patches” that can go above the new patch for all divisions and roles will also be available, for those who wish to add those distinctions to your uniforms. If your league still has patches that have been previously purchased, you do not need to replace those patches, and limited quantities of our previous patches are still available, while supplies last. Patches can be purchased at ShopLittleLeague.org with the new patch available soon.

Uniform Patch Placement

  • Sleeve Placement: 3 inches below left shoulder seam on raglan sleeve.
  • Sleeve Placement: 1 inch below left shoulder seam on set-in sleeve.
  • Sleeveless Placement: Patch should be placed over the left breast.
  • Umpire Patch: 4 inches below left shoulder seam on set-in sleeve.