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NFHS makes rule changes to track, baseball and softball

Posted Jul 15, 2013 by Nick Williams

Updated Jul 15, 2013 at 11:20 AM

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which sets rules and standards for all 50 state high school athletic associations, recently announced rule changes in track, baseball and softball.

Changes to high school baseball rules include an additional example of how a batter can interfere with the catcher’s ability to field or throw. Now, a backswing interference is included: “a batter shall not interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by making any other movement, including backswing interference, which hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner.” Also: the pitcher’s entire pivot foot must be in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate; contact or a collision is considered to be malicious if 1) The contact is the result of intentional excessive force; 2) the contact occurs close to the bag or home plate or above the waist of the receiving player; or 3) there was intent to injure.

Beginning with the 2014-2015 season, the following changes will be implemented in track: The installation of pole vault planting box padding now permitted; competitors now limited to one minute to initiate a trial after being called for the attempt (more than three entrants). If two or three competitors remain, the allowable time is three minutes; if only one remains, the time limit is five minutes; teams permitted the use of electronic devices in unrestricted areas and coaching boxes, providing the location does not interfere with progress of the meet as determined by the meet referee, but electronic devices shall not be used to transmit information to the competitor during the race or trial, nor are they permitted to be used for any review of an official’s decision; vaulting poles are no longer inspected by the implement inspector. They are now to be inspected by the field referee or head field judge prior to warm-ups; in the javelin, specific diameter dimensions of the rubber tip were removed from the rule to align with the current process of manufacturing the equipment; a pass must to be communicated to the event judge by the competitor before the start of the trial clock.

For softball, team personnel are now permitted to use electronic devices to transmit or record information pertaining to their players or team’s performances. This is to be done only in the team’s bench or dugout areas, and the information obtained may be used for coaching purposes during the game. Information obtained by electronic devices shall not be used to review decisions made by the umpires.

In other NFHS related news, Harold Slemmer, Ed.D., executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), is the new president of the NFHS for 2013-14. Slemmer, the 54th president of the NFHS, began his one-year term June 28 following the NFHS Summer Meeting in Denver. 

Tom Mezzanotte, executive director of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL), was elected by the NFHS Board of Directors to the position of president-elect for the upcoming year.

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