INDIANAPOLIS — New language has been added to the high school baseball rules to re-emphasize that non-wood bats cannot be altered.
This additional note in Rule 1-3-2 was one of four rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 3-5 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The new note in Rule 1-3-2 is as follows: “The NFHS has been advised that certain manufacturers consider alteration, modification and ‘doctoring’ of their bats to be unlawful and subject to civil and, under certain circumstances, criminal action.”
“Not only is it a violation of NFHS baseball rules to alter a non-wood bat, this new language emphasizes that an individual could be subjected to a civil or criminal lawsuit for tampering with a bat,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and staff liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee.
Two other changes deal with the use of new technology. Rule 3-3-1f prohibits the use of video monitoring equipment for coaching purposes during the game, and Rule 3-3-1i prohibits the use of any electronic devices in the coach’s box.
“Technology has improved to the level that mobile devices can accurately video different aspects of the game, which provides an unfair advantage to a coach by replaying the footage in the dugout during the contest,” Hopkins said. “The committee also agreed that there was no reason to have any electronic devices in the coach’s box.”
The final change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee deals with the warm-up criteria for a pitcher who replaces an ejected player during an inning. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher will be afforded the same warm-up criteria as a replacement for an injured player.
Under normal circumstances, a relief pitcher is allowed eight warm-up throws; however, the umpire may allow additional pitches because of an injury, ejection or inclement weather.
A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Athletics & Fine Arts Activities” on the home page, and select “Baseball.”
Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2010-11 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 471,025 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,863 schools sponsoring the sport.