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Softball pitchers can disengage from the playing surface while delivering a pitch next season

Jul 01, 2023

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule allowing both feet of pitchers to disengage from the playing surface during their delivery when pushing off the pitcher's plate.

Under the rule, which takes effect with the 2023-24 academic year, the pitcher's pivot foot can become airborne with one push from the pitcher's plate. However, pitchers will not be allowed to replant their pivot foot, resulting in pushing off from a second point and the pitcher being farther away from the pitcher's plate.

NCAA Softball Rules Committee members think whether the pivot foot stays in contact with the ground or is airborne, there is no advantage gained by the pitcher.

Panel members approved a rule change regarding obstruction in baserunning scenarios.

The change is intended to simplify the rule covering when a defensive player impedes the progress of any runner who is legally running bases on a live ball.

Under the revised rule, it is obstruction if the defensive player, while not in possession of the ball, does the following:

However, defensive players will not be called for obstruction if they are in possession of the ball or if they are making a legitimate reaction to the trajectory of the ball after it is thrown. Additionally, if in the umpire's judgment the runner would have clearly been out, then obstruction is ignored.

The panel approved expanding the scenarios where video review could be used.

The following additional scenarios may be reviewed:

Any of the listed reviewable items could be looked at if the action on the field results in a dead ball.

The time between when the next pitch must be thrown will be reduced from 25 seconds (10/10/5) to 20 seconds. Also, teams will have the option of using a visible action clock.

The batter must still be ready to hit within 10 seconds, or a strike will be assessed to the batter. If pitchers do not begin their windup before the rest of the time expires, a ball will be awarded to the batter.

If teams choose to not have a visible clock, the umpires will keep the time on the field.

Previously, the batter and the catcher had 10 seconds to be in position to play after the pitcher receives the ball. Pitchers then had 10 seconds to bring their hands together while receiving a signal as to what pitch to throw. The pitcher then had five seconds to deliver the pitch.

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