The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel recently approved the following changes in college baseball beginning in the spring for the 2015 season and beyond.
Umpires will now be allowed to get together to determine if a catch was made by a fielder in the outfield. Previously, umpires could only get together on certain close plays that did not include catches or non-catches made in the outfield.
Video replay will now be allowed during regular season and conference tournament games. Since 2012, the College World Series has been the sole venue where replay has been utilized. In addition to reviewing catch and no-catch plays, the following rules for replay will remain in affect:
- Whether a home run was fair or foul
- Whether a ball hit in play was a home run or a ground-rule double
- Whether a fan interfered with a ball in play (only for home runs)
- Whether a ball hit was fair or foul
Starting in 2015, a batter must make an effort to avoid being hit by a pitch. This also includes the batter leaning into a pitch, regardless of where the pitch’s projected path seemed to be. If the batter fails to avoid being hit by a pitch inside the strike zone, a strike will be called and if the batter fails to avoid being hit by a pitch outside the strike zone, a ball will be called. The batter will never be awarded a Hit By Pitch (HBP) in either situation.
By the 2016 season, all NCAA baseball stadiums must have their foul poles painted “fluorescent yellow”, just like a fan would see at any Major League Baseball stadium.
The Oversight Panel approved a rule stating that a game scheduled as part of a doubleheader that, for some reason, cannot be started on the same day can now be played as a 7-inning game the following day or at a date to be determined in the future. The panel wanted to ensure that the rule remained consistent across all NCAA baseball competitions, given that 7-innings games by themselves on a single day are not allowed by the NCAA.
*Section Photo credit to Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to The Associated Press