NCAA 5-8 Regulation Game
SECTION 8. a. A regulation game shall be nine innings unless:
1) Extended because of a tied score (see 5-8-d);
2) Shortened because (a) the home team needs none or only part of its half of the ninth inning or (b) the umpire calls the game after satisfying either “b” or “c” below or 5-10 (Tie Game); or
3) Seven-inning games have been scheduled for a doubleheader by conference rule or mutual agreement (see 5-7-d).
Note: If a seven-inning game has been scheduled, the rules applying to the ninth inning shall be applied to the seventh inning.
b. It shall be a regulation game if called by the umpire at any time after five innings have been completed, and the score shall be that of the last equal inning played, except that in the following circumstances the score of the game shall be the total number of runs that each team has scored:
1) If the team second at bat has scored more runs at the end of its fourth inning than the team first at bat has scored in five completed innings;
2) If the team second at bat has scored in an unequal number of innings more runs than the team first at bat; or
3) If the team second at bat is at bat when the game is called and has scored during the incomplete inning the same number of runs or more runs than the team first at bat.
4) By conference rule, or mutual consent of both coaches before the beginning of the contest, a game may be stopped after seven innings if one team is ahead by at least 10 runs. Each team must play an equal number of innings unless shortened because the home team needs none or only part of its half of the final inning.
c. It is a regulation game if it is called by the umpire for any cause that puts patrons or players in peril such as for darkness, inclement weather, a facility problem or crowd behavior, provided the conditions in 5-8-b have been met. If a game is delayed due to inclement weather, a facility problem, etc., a reasonable amount of time (not less than 30 minutes) must elapse before the game is called.
d. If the score is tied at the end of nine innings, play shall be continued until one team has scored more runs than the other in an equal number of innings, except that if the last team at bat scores the winning run before the third player is out in any inning after the ninth, the game shall terminate and be a regulation game.
Note: When the winning run is scored in the last half-inning of a regulation game, or in the last half-inning of an extra inning, as the result of a base on balls, hit batter or any other play with the bases full which forces the batter and all other runners to advance without liability of being put out, the umpire shall not declare the game ended until the runner forced to advance from third has touched home plate and the batter-runner has touched first base. An exception will be made if fans rush onto the field and physically prevent the runner from touching home plate or the batter-runner from touching first base. In such cases, the umpires shall award the runner the necessary bases with no appeal allowed.
e. It is a regulation game when the umpires leave the field of play. If, however, there shall be an appeal situation, it is the responsibility of the team to make such an appeal to an umpire before the pitcher and all infielders have left fair territory on their way to the dugout and the catcher has cleared the dirt circle.
f. Speed-up, optional substitution, or any other optional rules may not be used for official NCAA contests or NCAA championships since they are considered conduct rules. By definition (see Preface), conduct rules are those rules that have to do directly with the playing of the contest. No conduct rule may be changed by mutual consent or agreement.
g. Conferences are allowed to establish their own travel guidelines/restrictions for the get-away or travel day of a series regardless of the mode of transportation. In the case of non conference games, institutions must agree before the game and preferably in the game contract to avoid confusion. Example 1—The last game of a three-game series begins at 10 a.m. According to conference policy, no inning may start after 3 p.m. due to commercial air travel restrictions. At 3:10 p.m., the visiting team leads the home team 10-9 at the end of seven completed innings. Ruling: Umpires shall call the game with the visiting team declared the winner.
Example 2—Same scenario as Example A, but due to rain, the game does not start until 1 p.m. At 3:10 p.m., the home team leads 7-5 at the end of four and one-half innings. Ruling: Umpires shall call the game with the home team declared the winner. The conditions of a regulation game have been met as noted in Rule 5-8.
Example 3—In a non conference contest, two teams agree before the game to use the visiting team’s travel policy, either in writing or at the home plate meeting before the game. Using the scenario in Example 1, is this a regulation game? Ruling: Yes. Conferences and institutions are encouraged to include any travel policies in their game contract well in advance of the contest, if possible.