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NFHS 2012 Baseball Rule Changes

High School Baseball Rules Changes Emphasize Responsibility of Coaches 

NFHS Original Source Link

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      Contact: Elliot Hopkins

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 6, 2011) — Rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee will place more responsibility on coaches for rules-compliant player equipment, effective with the 2012 high school baseball season.

At its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis, the committee also took steps to define a new tamper-evident protocol for non-wood bats. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Prior to the start of each game, each head coach must now verify to the umpire in-chief that all participants are legally equipped and equipment is in accordance with NFHS rules. Such rules include “compliant bats that are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design and production and helmets that are free of cracks and damage.”

Another rule was added to address unsportsmanlike conduct toward umpires after a game has ended and after the umpires have departed the game site. It calls for state associations to determine appropriate action when dealing with these situations.

In addition, umpires no longer will be required to perform pregame equipment checks, as that responsibility will fall to coaches beginning next year. Coaches can still ask umpires at the pregame conference to confirm that equipment is compliant.

“The committee is placing a great importance on increased coach responsibility,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “It is one of our top priorities.”

Prior to the June 2012 meeting of the Baseball Rules Committee, the NFHS will work with appropriate parties to research and develop a baseball bat tamper-evident protocol for non-wood bats and present the recommendations to the committee for its consideration. The goal for implementation is for non-wood bats manufactured after January 1, 2015.

“Bat tampering is illegal and a major problem in high schools,” Hopkins said. “Everyone is looking for a competitive edge. With this note, we want to make sure that the state associations, coaches, teams and the public are aware that we are committed to minimizing any risk for players with bat tampering.”

In addition, a minor change to Rule 1-3-5 states that “No artificial or intentional means shall be used to control the temperature of the bat,” based on scientific research that altering the bat damages the bat and poses an unnecessary risk of injury.

Changes to Rules 1-5-8 and 3-1-6 deal with players’ equipment on the field. State associations may now authorize exceptions to NFHS rules to provide “reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs and unique and extenuating circumstances,” so long as they do not fundamentally interfere with the sport. Players and coaches must also clean or remove “any” (formerly “excessive”) amount of blood from a uniform or piece of equipment before being allowed back into the game.

Other rules changes approved by the committee include:

  • Rule 6-2-2c  Note: The starting pitcher may warm up by using no more than eight throws, completed in one minute (timed from the first throw). This rule applies to relief pitchers as well. At the beginning of each subsequent inning, the pitcher may warm up with no more than five throws, completed in one minute.
  • Rule 10-1-2: The game officials retain clerical authority over the contest through the completion of any reports, including those imposing disqualification, that are responsive to actions occurring while the umpires had jurisdiction. State associations may intercede in the event of unusual incidents after the umpires’ jurisdiction has ended or in the event that a game is terminated prior to the conclusion of regulation play.
  • Suggested Double First Base Rules: Runner should use the colored base on initial play at first base (dropped third strike only), unless the fielder is drawn to the side of the colored base, in which case the runner would go to the white base and the fielder to the colored base.

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2009-10 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 472,699 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,786 schools sponsoring the sport.

umpjb's picture

I for one am quite pleased we

I for one am quite pleased we can just show up, get dressed and go to the field for the home plate meeting. Going into the dugouts to check equipment was just one more way for us to get into an uncomfortable situation with a coach or player before the game even began. Although I personally didn't have any problems I would hear about other umpires sometimes getting into problems with coaches over the legality of equipment. So my thanks goes out to the NFHS for taking that monkey off all of our backs and allowing us to just go out and call the game, which is tough enough in itself.

Also pleased, we do not have to do that no more.

Make it two, as I am also pleased we do not have to check any equipment, going into dugouts, always asking "Bats out gentlemen?" Helmets? Sometimes there was no one in the dogout, as they were on the field, so it was just a waste of time as we had to wait for a team coach to order one of the players to take the bats out the bags and show them to the umpires. And everytime we told the coach about an illegal bat, we can always hear the "cry", but, we have been using this bat all year!". Let's call the game the best way we know how, and let the coaches worry about the legality of the equipment. NFHS, well done!.
Manuel Provedor

Great Changes, Still Have Quetions

It sounds great in theory, but I've got some concerns.  Since we won’t be checking bats, I’m worry if the batter gets a hit, who on the other team can request to have the bat inspected for legality?  Can the catcher or does it need to come from the coach?  Also, how many times/request can one team make?  I hope that NFHS outlines these items in the new rule book.  I agree with both Jacques and Manuel, it will be nice to just show up and not have to go through team dugouts.  The bigger question is, will little league follow suit?

Great questions, thanks for your response

Kevin: Just great questions. Am sure comes next season, NFHS, will have to explain these items in the new rule book. Just a matter of waiting. And I think, little league will not follow suit.
Manuel Provedor

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