Action clock modifications and other rule changes in college baseball –

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The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday approved modifications to baseball’s 20-second action clock with runners on base for the 2023 season.
Under the rule, with runners on base, a pitcher will be required to start the motion of throwing a pitch or making a pickoff throw to avoid a clock violation.
Pitchers will be allowed one step-off or fake throw to a base per batter to reset the clock.
If a defensive player requests and is granted a timeout by an umpire, it would be treated the same as a step-off by the pitcher to reset the clock. Again, this will be allowed only once per batter.
If the 20-second clock expires without a pitch or pickoff throw being made, a ball will be added to the count.
Previously, pitchers received a warning for the first violation of the 20-second clock, and a ball was added to the count for any subsequent violations. Pitchers could make an unlimited number of step-offs or fake throws to reset the clock.
If the offense violates the 20-second clock, a strike still will be added to the count.
The panel also approved a requirement that the between-innings and action clocks be visible on the field by Jan. 1, 2024, for all Division I games and Jan. 1, 2025, for all Division II and III games. Clocks do not have to be permanently affixed to the stadium. The change established a minimum of one visible clock, although multiple clocks are encouraged. A clock should be visible to the field umpire responsible for monitoring the timing rules.
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To effectively and consistently enforce rules aimed at addressing the concern, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee thinks a visible clock is necessary to address pace-of-play issues.
The panel approved expanding umpires’ use of video replay review. Umpires can initiate video reviews to see whether malicious contact or misconduct occurred. Umpires will also be able to initiate reviews regarding catcher’s interference.
The panel approved a minimum 3-foot fence or protective netting be in place on the field side of dugouts. The fence/netting would be required in Division I by Jan. 1, 2024, and in Divisions II and III by Jan. 1, 2025.
Additionally, the Baseball Rules Committee recommended padding be placed on all hard surfaces (backstops, sideline and home run fences) with which a player could collide during play.
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