Three Alaska teams ruled ineligible by National Legion

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 24, 2018

Three American Legion Baseball teams from Alaska have been ruled ineligible for sanctioned postseason competition by the National Legion office because the teams did not purchase required insurance on time, Alaska Legion senior officials announced today.


The three Alaska Legion teams are Palmer Post 15, Ketchikan Post 3 and Wasilla Post 35.


As a result, Wasilla and Ketchikan will not participate in this year’s Alaska Legion State Tournament, a qualifier for the Northwest Regional. Palmer would not have qualified anyway.


All three Alaska Legion teams instead will participate in the Matson Invitational.


Every Legion team in the country that advances to these regional games must have proof of insurance by the required date as certified by the National Legion office.


The insurance policy has been in place for 30 years and is required by both National Legion and Alaska Legion. The deadline for teams to purchase insurance was May 31.


The rule was discussed before the season at Alaska Legion meetings and National Legion sent emails to remind coaches in advance of the deadline.  


Each Legion post is responsible for registering the team online and paying for the required insurance before the deadline. The practice of team responsibility for registration has been in place in Alaska for several years and all three teams had previously registered and paid insurance on time in past years.


The National Legion office made the ruling today in a final eligibility check with Alaska Legion officials prior to the start of postseason competition on Friday.


An appeal made by Alaska Legion officials on behalf of the disqualified teams was denied, said Alaska Legion senior official Steve Nerland. The other 13 Alaska Legion teams paid their insurance on time, according to the National Legion office.


The season is not finished for Wasilla, Ketchikan and Palmer.


Alaska Legion Department Chair Russ Baker invited all three teams to participate in the Matson Invitational, a tournament created in 2014 for Alaska Legion teams that didn’t qualify for state.


None of the teams ruled ineligible will lose league points from the regular season or drop in the Alaska Legion standings, Nerland said.


“The points are the points,” he said.


The five-day postseason run kicks off Friday, with the 66th annual Alaska Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium and the 5th annual Matson Invitational at Bartlett High School.


The Alaska Legion state champion will qualify for the Northwest Regional in August in Missoula, Montana. The winner of the region tournament advances to the Legion World Series.


Nearly 3,600 teams nationally participate in American Legion Baseball.


The state runner-up will participate in the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament (NWCART) in Lewiston, Idaho, also in August.


The Matson Invitational champion does not advance outside of Alaska.