Umpires can be rewarded for registering and officiating USA softball without being assigned to regional or national championships. This rewards the local umpire who supports the USA Softball program, and can be relied upon for local assignments.
There are four levels for this program - the Blue level for those who have been registered for three (3) years, the Bronze level for those registered for five (5) years, the Silver level for those registered for seven (7) years and the Gold level for those registered for seven (7) years. Umpires can reach these levels quicker if they have umpired in national championships, or attended National Umpire Schools.
The program was instigated in 1999 and currently there are 5536 umpires registered in the program at various levels. The cost is $20 for each level, and the umpire receives a cap, certificate and pin symbolic of the level achieved. An umpire could register for all four levels if he/she desires and receive caps, certificates and pins for each level paid. In addition, there are various leisure wear items, jewelry items and trophies for each level if the umpire or association desires to purchase these.
The Medals program is a very popular program for the USA Softball umpire, with the caps and shirts being seen all across the U.S. USA Softball umpires take pride in their program and as more umpires are becoming aware of this reward program, more registrations are received. When submitting the application, local association commissioners must approve, indicating the umpire is in good standing. Names are printed annually in the USA Softball Case Book.
This reward program has been available to USA Softball umpires since 1986. It was originally started as a program for those umpires who have been assigned and officiated in three national championships, but did not qualify or gain approval for International Softball Federation (ISF) certification. Today it is considered the highest level reward program for USA Softball Umpires, not including the USA Softball Hall of Fame Umpire classification or ISF certification.
There are currently 2,212 members certified with the National Indicator Fraternity (NIF), with approximately 100-125 added annually. The applicant must have been an USA Softball registered umpire for at least seven (7) years, but does not have to be currently active. To qualify the umpire must have umpired or served as a national championship UIC or assistant UIC for three nationals, or can substitute attendance at an USA Softball Advanced Umpire School for one of the nationals. Approval by the local commissioner and the Regional UIC is mandatory for acceptance. Cost is $15 and the umpire receives a certificate, membership card and a patch.
The program is popular for those umpires who have advanced to the next level, and as a result have umpired in three nationals. It is a select group, considering that there are nearly 50,000 umpires nationwide. Applications must be received by Dec. 1st of each year in order for your name to be permanently displayed in the National Hall of Fame and printed annually in the USA Softball Case Book.
This reward program is the highest honor an USA Softball umpire can obtain other than selection to the USA SoftballHall of Fame. The program was launched in 2003, with 153 umpires approved in February of that year. There are currently 360 qualified umpires that have been selected for the "Elite" program. Members who are approved as "Elite" umpires can apply for their international certification (ISF), and are the only umpires selected for the National Championship Series (SP) and the Armed Forces Slow Pitch Championships. In future years, it is anticipated that "Elite" umpires will be selected for major Fast and Modified Pitch Championships. To become eligible for this program, an umpire must have been an USA Softball registered umpire for at least seven (7) years and a current member in good standing. The umpire must have participated in at least four (4) national championships, and umpired in two (2) in the same category of play and from the championships listed below:
FAST PITCH: Men's Major, Women's Major, Men's Master 40-Over, Girls 18U USA Softball / USA Gold, Men's "A" or Women's "A".
SLOW PITCH: Men’s Super, Men’s Major, Men’s A, Men's B, Men’s Industrial (previously Major or A), Men’s 16” Major, Men’s Masters 35-Over, Men's 40-Over, Women’s Open (previously Major or A) Coed Major.
MODIFIED PITCH: Men's 9-Man Major, Men's A or Women's 9-Player, or Men's 10-Man. The USA Softball "Elite" umpire application fee is $40.00 and is non-refundable.
The umpire will receive a lapel pin, a navy USA Softball "Elite" cap, membership card, framed certificate, and name listed in the USA Softball Hall of Fame. Three passport size photos should be attached to the application. Deadline each year is October 1. Applications will be reviewed at the November Council Meeting and applicants will be notified shortly thereafter.