July 20, 2016 3:32pm | By Greg Johnson
Replays may soon become a regular part of the college baseball season.
During its July 11-13 meeting in Indianapolis, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee recommended making the video replay rule a permanent rule in the regular season for schools that choose to implement it in the 2017 season.
All rules changes must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss baseball proposals via conference call on Aug. 17.
The video replay rule has been available for use on an experimental basis at the College World Series since 2012. It was also available for use the last two years in the Division I Baseball Championship super regionals.
The rule was applied for the first time in the College World Series this year in a June 19 game between Coastal Carolina University and the University of Florida. On the play, a ball hit into the right field corner by Coastal Carolina’s Zach Remillard was originally ruled foul. But after review, it was determined the ball landed in fair territory and he was awarded a double.
The only plays that may be reviewed are:
• Deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul.
• Deciding whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double.
• Spectator-interference plays.
• Deciding if a batted ball is fair or foul.
• Deciding whether a fielder did or did not make a catch on a fair batted ball hit into the outfield or on any foul ball.
• Deciding scoring plays at the plate.
• Determining if a player should be ejected for a collision (illegal or malicious slides).
• Determining if a run scored on timing plays. (An example would be to determine if a base runner scored before the last out of an inning was recorded at another base).
After five years of experimentation, committee members believe the video replay rule should be available for all games. The desire to ensure calls are correct was the impetus for the recommendation.
“The responses we have received toward the use of replay have been positive,” said Casey Scott, committee chair and senior associate athletics director of operations and event management at Kansas State University. “We felt it was time to give institutions the opportunity to use it in regular-season games.”
Committee members are also recommending a stronger penalty for players who use illegal bats in a game.
If an umpire can determine by inspection that a bat is illegal after the first pitch is thrown in a count, the batter will be called out and base runners must return to the base they occupied before the ball was put in play. The bat will be taken out of the game.
If the umpire can determine that a bat is illegal before the first pitch of a count, the hitter is called out and the bat is removed from the game.
Committee members recommended a rules change regarding pitchers’ windup positions. The committee is concerned that base runners and umpires are having difficulty differentiating when a pitcher is in a windup or in the stretch position to hold runners closer to the base.
The language for the rule was clarified to say that a pitcher is considered to be in a windup position when the pitcher’s shoulders and chest are generally facing home plate.
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