NPF announces partnership initiative with Diamond Umpire Academy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — National Pro Fastpitch announced a partnership with Diamond Umpire Academy on Wednesday morning, which will begin during the 2019 season. The multi-faceted relationship will affect training for NPF umpires as well as interaction at all levels of umpire training by the league, its teams and players.
The partnership is expected to broaden the reach and umpire base in new areas, including international segments. The training program will be integrated into approximately six camp opportunities throughout the year and will provide unique development experiences for both veteran and younger umpires.
The relationship was born from the recognized growing interest and enthusiasm that exists at the professional level of softball, both domestic and international. Through exposure to a diverse and intense level of competition, along with coach and athlete contributions, led by the experienced instructors of Diamond Umpire Academy, the umpire development experience will be one of a kind.
“The league has determined that umpire training and preparation for professional umpires demands attention,” Mike Raynor, NPF supervisor of officials, said. “This is a perfect partnership for both organizations as it blends the teaching and training of umpires in NPF rules knowledge and mechanics, with the competitive nature of the professional game in a win-win set of circumstances for all.”
Diamond Umpire Academy is owned and operated by accomplished NCAA and NPF umpire and current NCAA umpire coordinator, Christie Cornwell and Tom Meyer. Under Cornwell and Meyer’s direction, Diamond Umpire Academy assembled the most recognized brand in umpire training in the United States, which includes clinicians and trainers who have umpired throughout the country in the competitive compounds of the NCAA and NPF.
“Diamond Umpire Academy is thrilled to be partnering with the NPF,” Cornwell said. “This is such an exciting opportunity to provide umpire training on a whole new level, working with an outstanding league, and some of the best athletes in the world.”
The current playing rules of NPF blend NCAA rules and mechanics with playing rules of the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC), along with the inclusion of rules and regulations unique to the league. The program will focus on the variances and nuances of the rules, along with the accelerated demands of umpiring the pace and performance level of professional softball. The plan is to provide umpires with unique perspectives and experiences from which to learn.
The 2019 NPF regular season will lead off in May and will feature six teams from three separate continents and players from six different national teams. The 150-game regular season schedule will take place May through August and the Championship Series is set to be held Aug. 15-19.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2019 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.