NCAA Baseball Rules Committee reviewed its rules and decided to
emphasize pace of play at its July 10-12 meeting. The committee’s
actions must be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel before
committee’s main point of emphasis – the pace of play – includes
several rules and umpiring mechanics the group believes can be enforced
more consistently. In particular, the batter’s box rule (the batter
must generally keep one foot in the box during an at-bat), handling of
conferences (defensive and offensive) and speeding the time between
inning and during pitching changes were areas the committee identified
as areas in need of improvement.
are times where the game should be moved along more quickly,” said Gary
Vaught, head coach at the University of Indianapolis and chair of the
committee. “We are asking umpires and coaches to do their part to keep
our games moving. The better enforcement of several rules will assist
in this effort.”
committee approved an additional point of emphasis regarding pitching.
In the set position (Rule 9-1-b), there seems to be a relaxing of some
requirements the pitcher must follow. In particular, the committee is
concerned that pitchers are deceiving runners by holding the ball in
the pitching hand in front of the body and not at the hip or behind the
body, as noted in this rule.
committee is not looking for more balk calls with this emphasis,”
Vaught said. “The penalty is initially a warning. We hope this can be
cleared up with coaches and umpires working in unison to correct this
its meeting, the committee reviewed its rules thoroughly and made
several minor adjustments. The group reviewed last year’s changes and
noted the encouraging results particularly in the area of the
force-play-slide rule. In general, the rules of the game are meeting
the needs of the baseball community adequately.
adjustments made in recent years have had a positive effect on the
game,” Vaught said. “The slide rule change kept the safety of the
players at its core but made it easier for umpires to call and for
coaches to teach. The game is in great shape.”
The committee did make several alterations in its rules:
Rule 1-14-f, Jackets. The committee voted to allow
a jacket, which includes the team’s official logo, in the coaching
boxes if it is consistent with the team’s uniform color and apparel. If
both coaches opt to wear a jacket, the jackets must be uniform.Rule 2, Ejections. The
committee adjusted the penalty for pitchers that receive a post-game
ejection. Because of the nature of the pitching position, this penalty
will carry a four-game suspension. This is only for post-game
ejections. Rule 4-1-a, Bat and Helmet Checks. The
committee decided to take this duty out of the hands of the umpires.
Coaches will be asked to certify that all bats and helmets are legal
during the pre-game meeting.
- Rule 4-4-a, Pre-game Meeting. The
head coach, during the first game of a weekend series or any
non-conference game, must attend the pre-game plate conference.
- Rule 8-2-d, Hit By Pitch. The
committee did not alter any wording in this section, with the exception
of removing some conflicting wording in an approved ruling. However,
the committee is emphasizing that the batter must make an attempt to
avoid the pitch to be awarded first base.
complete listing of rules changes will be distributed to member
institutions and posted on the NCAA Website for comment before the
oversight panel considers the proposals.
other committee news, Tim Corbin, head coach at Vanderbilt University,
was selected to be the next chair of the committee. This appointment
must be approved through the NCAA committee structure.
as part of the NCAA’s two-year cycle for rules, the next rules book
will be in effect for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The committee will
meet next summer, but the focus will be more to long-term issues and
education efforts for coaches and umpires.