Rule changes for 2016 in prep baseball, softball

Beginning with the 2016 season in prep baseball, umpires will be required to issue a warning to coaches before restricting them to the dugout or ejecting them as part of a new penalty progression to promote preventative officiating.

The rule change was approved the by the rules commiitte of the National Federation of State High School Assns.


Previoulsy, issuing a warning to an offending coach was optional. Coaches can still be ejected on a first offense if it is deemed major.

Also part of the modification to Rule 3-3-1 is coaches who receive a written warning will be restricted to the bench for the rest of the game.

The other change approved by the rules committee is an addition to Rule 3-3-1. Article “q” will state that a coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not “have any physical contact, spitting, kicking of dirt or any other physical action directed toward an umpire.” The addition of article “q” serves to clarify other behaviors that would result in an ejection from the game, according to Elliot Hopkins, the liaison to the rules committee.
Three points of emphasis for 2016: Intermediate penalties, proper catcher's equipment, sportsmanship _ celebrations around or near the plate and post-game ejections.
In softball, there's one rule change, providing a standard definition of a "projected" substitute.
Rule 3-3-3 prohibits the use of a projected substitute, which is now defined in the new article as “a player who does not immediately participate in the game.”
The points of emphasis will be strike zone, DP/Flex education and pitching.
There were 482,629 participants nationally in high school baseball in the latest participation survey with 15,789 schools. Softball had 364,297 participants in 15,225 schools.