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2017 PART ONE NCAA RULE CHANGES

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by JCbaseball » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:53 pm

Part ONE - NCAA Rule Changes for 2017

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee made a variety of changes and editorial revisions for the 2017 season. Here they are in the approximate order of significance.
Collisions. In the interest of safety, the collision rule (8-7) has been revised. When a runner is attempting to score, there are restrictions on both the runner and the catcher which are designed to prevent an avoidable collision.
A runner may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision.
The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of the rule. The runner may not attempt to dislodge the ball from the fielder. Contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner is also an indication that there was not an attempt to reach the base or plate.
If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, it is not a violation. To be legal for a feet-first slide, the runner’s buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher. For a head-first slide, his body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner illegally initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), the umpire shall declare the runner out (regardless of whether the player covering home plate maintains possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.
The catcher, without possession of the ball, cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score unless he does so as a result of a legitimate attempt to field the throw, (e.g., in reaction to the direction, trajectory or the hop of the incoming throw, or in reaction to a throw that originates from the pitcher or drawn-in infielder). Blocking the path of the runner refers to a fielder who is either immediately in front of a base or in the baseline.
If the catcher blocks the plate, it is not a violation unless he has both blocked the plate without possession of the ball (or when not in a legitimate attempt to field the throw), and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score. A catcher shall not be deemed to have hindered or impeded the progress of the runner if, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner would have been called out notwithstanding the catcher having blocked the plate. It is also not a violation if the runner could have avoided the collision by sliding.
In addition, a catcher should use best efforts to avoid unnecessary and forcible contact while tagging a runner attempting to slide. Catchers who routinely make unnecessary and forcible contact with a runner attempting to slide (e.g., by initiating contact using a knee, shin guard, elbow or forearm) may be subject to being ejected.
If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher illegally blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Obstruction is called because the runner was being played on. The ball is dead immediately. All runners are awarded bases they would have reached had there been no obstruction.
Play 1: With a runner on third and one out, B1 hits a fly ball and R3 tags. F2 stands in the baseline immediately in front of the plate awaiting the throw from F7. F2 stands so that the runner has (a) access to part of the plate, or (b) no access to the plate. In either case, R3 arrives just before the ball and instead of sliding, makes shoulder contact with F2. The ball deflects off F2’s glove and R3 touches the plate. Ruling 1: R3 is out because he initiated an avoidable collision. The umpire need not judge whether R3 would have been out had F2 caught the ball. Also, the obstruction in (b) is not a factor.
Play 2: With a runner on second and one out, B1 singles and R2 attempts to score. F9’s throw is up the line and as F2 pursues the ball, there is a collision between R2 and F2. Ruling 2: The result of the play will stand. R2 could not avoid the collision because he could not have anticipated F2’s presence in the baseline. F2 is not guilty of obstruction because he was attempting to field a ball which he had a reasonable chance of catching.
Play 3: With runners on first and third and one out, B1 grounds to F6 who tosses the ball to F4 at second for the force. R3 tries to score and F6 throws to second to start a double play. However, F4 belatedly decides to play on R3. F2 blocks the plate, but R3 begins his slide before F4 releases the ball. R3 is unable to touch the plate and is tagged when the ball finally arrives. Ruling 3: F2 is guilty of obstruction because he both blocked the plate without possession of the ball and not in a legitimate attempt to field a throw; he also impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score. R3 is safe and the he was attempting to field a ball which he had a reasonable chance of catching. The ball is dead immediately because the obstructed runner was being played on. B1 is awarded second if the umpire judges he would have reached it had there been no obstruction.
Video replay. Replay was first used in the College World Series in 2012 and was utilized on a very limited basis (catch/no catch only) beginning with the 2015 season. Instant replay is now fully available. The list of reviewable plays and protocols follow.
JCbaseball
 
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