On Thursday, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel officially ratified the use of video replay review in college softball.
Under the approved rule, coaches will be allowed two review challenges and the umpiring crew chief can initiate a review beginning in the sixth inning of a game.
Review is not mandatory and is not required to be used; schools, conferences, and tournaments will have the option to implement replay review. No conference has yet implemented and all-or-nothing approach to replay review, leaving open the possibility, at present, that some schools may have the option of replay review at the same time that other schools in the same conference do not.
The ACC, Sun Belt, and SEC all used instant replay in their conference tournaments this season, operating in very similar fashion to this proposed permanent rule change. When the rule was positively referred out of the Softball Rules Committee, an NCAA release noted then that, “committee members have received positive feedback about the experimental rule”.
Other rule changes ratified on Thursday included:
- Teams are now allotted seven coach-to-player conferences during a game, with one conference allowed per half-inning.
- Teams are allowed seven player-to-player conferences per game with a maximum of two per half-inning.
- A 90-second time between innings in both media and non-media games.
- If an umpire rules that a hitter is out of the batter’s box, the defensive team will have the option to choose the result of the play or having a strike charged to the batter.
- An addition will be made to the softball rules book that a runner will be ruled out and may be ejected for a deliberate collision with a fielder, regardless of possession of the ball. A runner who slides out of the baseline in order to slide directly at a fielder may be issued a team warning in lieu of an immediate ejection. The action could result in an additional runner being ruled out if interference it determined.