Official Rules of NCAA-Level Baseball

NCAA 1-11

The coefficient of restitution of a baseball cannot exceed .555

[OBR 2.03: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-12b

Maximum bat length is 36″ (2 5/8″ diameter) for non-wood bats and 42″ for wood bats. Maximum weight may not be more than 3 units less than the weight e.g. a 35″ bat must weigh at least 32 ounces and have a coded certification mark (BESR).

[OBR 3.02a: Maximum bat length is 42″ with a diameter of not more than 2 3/4″; no weight restrictions.]

NCAA 1-12b Pen

A bat that has been flattened or altered to improve performance is an illegal bat. If such an illegal bat is detected before the first pitch, the batter shall be called out and the bat shall be removed from the game. If an illegal bat is detected after the first pitch, legal or illegal, the batter shall be declared out, and base runners shall not advance as a result of a batted ball. The bat shall be removed from the contest.

[OBR 6.03a4: If a batter uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball, no advancement on the bases will be allowed (except advancements that are not caused by the use of an illegal bat), and any out or outs made during a play shall stand. In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League President. A batter shall be deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if he brings such a bat into the batter’s box.]

NCAA 1-13 Pen 2, 8-6b

If an illegal glove is used, the offense may accept the play or the penalty, on proper appeal.

[OBR 3.07c: The glove is removed and the play stands.]

NCAA 1-13a

The size of the catcher’s mitt is not limited.

[OBR 3.04: Catcher’s mitt is limited to 38″ in circumference and 15 1/2″ from top to bottom.]

NCAA 1-13c

A catcher may wear a first baseman’s mitt.

[OBR PBUC 3.14: A catcher must use a catcher’s mitt.]

NCAA 1-14d

The pitcher’s undershirt sleeves must be a solid color other than white and the same length.

[OBR 3.03b: The pitcher’s undershirt sleeves must be a solid color and conform with that of his teammates.]

NCAA 1-14d AR

Neoprene sleeves, if worn by a pitcher, must be covered by an undershirt.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-15a

Batter must wear a protective helmet with double ear flaps that meets the NOCSAE standard.

[OBR 3.08c: Any protective helmet (single ear flap) is permissible.]

NCAA 1-15a

If a player refuses to change to a legal helmet, he is ejected.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-15b

It is recommended non-adult bat/ball shaggers wear a protective helmet.

[PBUC 3.1: Required in Minor Leagues only.]

NCAA 1-16b AR 1

Dugouts cannot be extended on the home plate side.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-2b

The recommended distance to the outfield fence is 330 – 400′.

[OBR 2.01 Note a: The minimum allowable distance is 250′. New or remodeled fields must have distances of 320-400′.]

NCAA 1-3

The recommended width of chalk lines is 2″ to 3″.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-3b

The catcher’s box is 4′ by 6′ measured from the back line of the batter’s box (about 30% larger than pro).

[OBR 2.01 Appendices 1 & 2]: The box is 43″ by 8′ measured from the point of the plate.

NCAA 1-3c AR

At the time of the pitch, a coach must position himself no closer to home plate than the front edge of the coach’s box and no closer to fair territory than the edge of the coach’s box nearest the field.

[OBR 4.05b2: Coaches are to remain in the coach’s box at all times except when signaling to a player. He must have both feet in coach’s box at the time of the pitch.]

NCAA 1-5c, 4-3e

Regulation bullpens for each team must be provided.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 1-5e

No requirement for a player to occupy the on-deck circle.

[OBR PBUC 3.5: The next batter and only the next batter, must be in the on-deck circle.]

NCAA 1-7b

A double first base may be used only during the regular season.

[OBR 2.03: Such bases are not legal.]

NCAA 10-1a

The home team, conference commissioner or tournament director shall appoint the official scorer.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 2-16, 1-2c(2) & AR

If a player makes a catch in front of a flexible, windscreen fence, it is not a catch if he is stepping on, over or against the fence.

[Catch Definition: No rules provision for wind screen fences.]

NCAA 2-26, 3-6d AR 3

Ejected participants may not have contact with other team members and must remain out of sight and sound of the contest.

[OBR 6.04d: Ejected participants may not have contact with other team members.]

NCAA 2-39

A half swing shall be called a strike if the barrel head of the bat passes the batter’s front hip.

[OBR: No Rules Provision. The umpire’s decision on a half swing is based entirely on his judgment as to whether or not the batter struck at the ball.]

NCAA 2-55

The act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball, impedes the progress of a runner.

[OBR Obstruction Definition: The act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of a runner.]

NCAA 3-11

Use of all tobacco products is prohibited.

[ORB: No rules provision.]

NCAA 3-3e, f

If a base coach assists a runner or otherwise interferes, it is a delayed dead ball.

[OBR 6.01a8: Base coach interference is an immediate dead ball.]

NCAA 3-6d

Any umpire may eject a participant for misconduct or violation of the Code of Ethics. Misconduct is specifically defined.

[OBR 8.01d: Each umpire may disqualify a participant for unsportsmanlike conduct which is not specifically defined. No Code of Ethics.]

NCAA 3-6k

Umpire jurisdiction in regard to personal confrontations and unsportsmanlike conduct directed toward them begins when the umpires enter the game site and ends when the umpires have left the game site.

[OBR 4.03e: As soon as the home team’s batting order is handed to the umpire-in-chief the umpires are in charge of the playing field.]

NCAA 3-9

A bleeding player must be treated before continuing to play and if not treated within 10 minutes, a substitute must replace him.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 4-1a Pen

A field found to be unreasonably illegal must be made legal within a reasonable time or the home team is subject to forfeit.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 4-4

The pregame meeting is ten minutes before game time.

[OBR 4.03: The meeting is held approximately five minutes before game time.]

NCAA 4-4a

The head coach must attend the pregame conference for the first game of a weekend series or any non-conference game.

[OBR 4.03a: The manager may send a representative to the pregame meeting.]

NCAA 4-4c

Before the game, coaches must verify the legality of all equipment.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 5-12g

The game is forfeited if nine players are no longer eligible.

[OBR 7.03b: The game is forfeited if nine players are not on defense.]

NCAA 5-12h

If the game is out of control and both teams are equally at fault, a double forfeit can be declared.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 5-13b

A protest of a game ending play must be voiced before all fielders have left fair territory after completion of the game.

[OBR 7.04: The protest may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the League Office.]

NCAA 5-15a

Players are not specifically prohibited from deliberately throwing bats or helmets.

[MLBUM 2.19: Players may not deliberately throw bats or helmets to show their disgust. PENALTY: Ejection.]

NCAA 5-15b

Coaches’ misconduct such as removing the team from the field or refusing to continue play carries an automatic two game suspension for the coach.

[OBR: No Rules Provision; under the auspices of the League Office.]

NCAA 5-16

Extensive penalties for fighting, leaving position for a physical confrontation or physical abuse of opponents or umpires are provided.

[OBR: No Rules Provision; under the auspices of the League Office.]

NCAA 5-2d

After a home run, no offensive player other than the base coaches may touch the batter-runner before he scores.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 5-2f

Scouting information from non-uniformed team personnel or from video taping of the game may not be used during the game.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 5-4, 5-4c Pen

A fielder is in fair territory if he has one foot on fair ground. The play is nullified only when defense benefits. If an an appeal play, it is lost.

[OBR 5.02, PBUC 3.16: A fielder is in fair territory if he has both feet on fair ground.]

NCAA 5-4a, 9-3i

The catcher must remain in the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. Penalty: Ball/balk (Illegal Pitch).

[OBR New Rule: An intentional walk can be awarded without any pitches delivered.]

NCAA 5-5f Pen

On appeal, an illegal sub discovered on base is out and ejected. If a run is scored, it is disallowed if the appeal is made prior to the next pitch, in addition to the out/ejection.

[OBR 5.10, INTERP: The illegal sub is ejected, but is not out.]

NCAA 5-8b(4)

By conference rule or mutual consent of both coaches, before the beginning of a contest, a game may be terminated after 7 innings if one team is ahead by 10 or more runs.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 5-9

An incomplete game may be treated as a suspended game if the halted game procedure is in effect.

[OBR 7.02: A regulation game is always suspended when certain events occur.]

NCAA 6-1d

In order to make a legal catch, a fielder must have secure possession of the ball before stepping into the dead ball area, including a dugout.

[OBR 5.09a1 Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch.]

NCAA 6-5f

The offense may have three charged conferences per game, with one additional conference in extra innings. A total of four offensive conferences are allowed. Unused offensive conferences are added to the one extra innings conference.

[ORB: No rules provision.]

NCAA 6-5f1, 9-4a Nt

The UIC shall keep a written record of all offensive and defensive charged conferences.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 7-10a

The batter is out if he hits the ball while touching the plate.

[OBR Interpretation: The batter’s foot must be completely outside the box for him to be declared out.]

NCAA 7-10b, 1-12-a, b Pen

If a batter hits with an altered or flattened bat as opposed to illegal bat, the bat is replaced if detected before the first pitch. If detected after the first pitch, the batter is declared out and no runners may advance.

[OBR 6.03a4: The batter is ejected and out; runners return, any other outs stand.]

NCAA 7-1c

The batter must keep one foot in the batter’s box except for certain situations.

PENALTY: If a batter intentionally leaves the batter’s box and delays play, the plate umpire shall award a strike without a pitch.

[OBR 5.04b4a: Same except the penalty is a warning for the first violation. For any subsequent violaion by a batter in the same game. The League President may issue appropriate discipline.]

NCAA 7-2b

If no designated hitter [DH] is listed on the starting lineup, the pitcher is automatically the DH and is considered two players.

[OBR 5.11a1: If no DH is listed, the DH is lost for that game.]

NCAA 7-2d3a, 7-2e6a

The DH may be pinch hit or pinch run for at any time.

[OBR 5.11a2: The DH must bat at least once unless the opposing club changes pitchers.]

NCAA 7-4h

A strike is awarded if the batter attempts to create catcher’s interference. He is out if the interference is deliberate, immediate dead ball, base runners return to base occupied at TOP.

[OBR Interpretation: If this occurs, the ball is dead and no runners can advance. If the swing hits the catcher, the batter is ejected but he is not out unless he had two strikes.]

NCAA 8-2d1

The batter may not make a movement to intentionally get hit by a pitch and must avoid being hit whenever possible.

[OBR 5.05b2: The batter must make an attempt to avoid the pitch.]

NCAA 8-3e

If a runner is obstructed returning to a base which he missed, he is awarded the subsequent base (beyond his position at the time of the obstruction).

[OBR 6.01h1: The award is one base beyond the base last legally touched.]

NCAA 8-3h

A fair ball hit over a fence in-flight at fewer than 250 feet is a home run.

[ORB 5.05a5: Only two bases are awarded.]

NCAA 8-3o1

A bounding ball that goes over the fence in fair territory is a double unless local ground rules stipulate otherwise.

[7.05f: It is a double by rule and cannot be altered by ground rules.]

NCAA 8-4a & Exception

On a force play, the runner must slide in a direct line between the bases or through the baseline extended.

[Interpretation: No rules provision; the runner must merely be close enough to reach the base with a hand or foot.]

NCAA 8-5j Exception

If a runner is put out during live action, his out does not remove the force on any preceding runner who might later be called out for a baserunning infraction.

[ORB 5.09b6, Interpretation: A force in effect at the time of the pitch remains in effect only if the baserunning error occurs before a following runner is put out.]

NCAA 8-6b (3)&(5), 5-4c Penalty

An appeal ends if the defense errs and the ball becomes dead, runners advance or a fielder other than the catcher is in foul territory at the time the umpire puts the ball into play after time had been called. Defensive players may move to back up first or third base once the ball has been made live.

[ORB 5.09c: The appeal ends only if the ball becomes dead.]

NCAA 8-6b4

An appeal is lost if the defense initiates a play before the appeal, but not if the offense initiates.

[ORB 5.09c: The appeal is lost if either team initiates a play.]

NCAA 8-7a

When there is a collision between a runner and a fielder who is in clear possession of the ball, the umpire shall judge: If the defensive player blocks the base (plate) or base line with clear possession of the ball, the runner may slide into to make contact with the fielder as long as the runner is making a legitimate attempt to reach the base (plate). There are additional nuances to this rule.

[OBR 6.01i: A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision. If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (regardless of whether the player covering home plate maintains possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, he shall not be adjudged to have violated this rule.]

NCAA 9-1a

(In the windup) -The pitcher shall stand with his chest and shoulders generally facing the batter.

Penalty: Warning on the first offense; Ball/balk (Illegal pitch) for subsequent offenses by any pitcher who enters the game.

[OBR 5.07a1: (In the windup) -The pitcher shall deliver while facing the batter. Penalty: Ball/balk.]

NCAA 9-1f, 9-2j, 7-5d

The pitcher must take his sign while in a legal position on the rubber.

PENALTY: Ball; however, if all runners advance and the batter reaches first base, play proceeds. The pitcher must pitch from the position in which he takes his sign.

[OBR 5.07a: Same, but penalty is only a warning.]

NCAA 9-2c

A clock is used to enforce the requirement the pitcher to deliver within 20 seconds in conjunction with Rule 7-1c, the batter’s box rule and to time the interval between innings.

[OBR: A play clock is used only in the Minor Leagues.]

NCAA 9-2d

The pitcher may go to his mouth anywhere on the mound if he is not in contact with the rubber and distinctly wipes it off before pitching.

PENALTY: A ball is called each time a pitcher violates.

[OBR 6.02c1: The pitcher may not touch his hand to his mouth without wiping it off while in the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s plate. PENALTY: Ball]

NCAA 9-2e

The pitcher may not pitch a defaced ball.

PENALTY: Warning, ejection on the second offense. No balk is called. A second offense results in the immediate ejection of the pitcher.

[OBR 6.02c5 Penalty: The penalty is immediate ejection of the pitcher; however if a play follows and all runners advance and the batter reaches first base, play proceeds.]

NCAA 9-2e Note 1, 9-2h

The pitcher may not wear a bandage or other distracting item on his pitching hand or fingers or attach tape or material of a color different from his uniform or glove to his glove, arms or clothing. Distracting tattoos must be covered.

[OBR 3.07b: The pitcher may not put on his glove any foreign substance that is a different color from his glove.]

NCAA 9-2k, 9-2k AR 1

An ambidextrous pitcher must declare which way he will pitch to a specific batter.

PENALTY: Ball/balk, warn the pitcher and eject if the offense is repeated.

[PBUC 8.18: The pitcher must declare which arm he will pitch with and the batter may then adjust. The pitcher may then switch arms once per the at bat.]

NCAA 9-3f

When the hidden ball trick is attempted, the pitcher may not stand with one or both feet on any part of the dirt area of the mound.

[OBR 6.02a Comment A: The pitcher, without the ball, may not stand on or astride the mound (anywhere on the rise).]

NCAA 9-3k

In the windup position, the pitcher is limited to two pumps.

PENALTY: Balk, ball becomes dead.

[OBR: No rules provision.]

NCAA 9-4a1, 9-4b

On the fourth and each successive charged conference during regulation play, the pitcher must be removed, except he is also removed on the second trip in one inning. If second trip in same inning, the player may not return as a pitcher for the remainder of the game.

[OBR 5.10L2: When the pitcher is removed on the second trip in the same inning, he may not remain in the game.]

NCAA 9-4d

A conference ends when the coach crosses the foul line on his way back to the bench. A conference begins when the coach crosses the foul line on his way to the mound.

[OBR 5.10L Comment 4: A trip to the mound ends when the coach leaves the dirt portion of the mound. A conference also begins when the coach crosses the foul line on his way to the mound.]

NCAA 9-4e, 4-7b AR

A pitcher who leaves the mound but remains in the game may return only once a game as long as the pitcher was not removed on the second trip in an inning.

[OBR 5.10d Comment: A pitcher who leaves the mound but remains in the game may return to pitch once an inning.]


Note: This list includes only functional differences. In other words, in cases where there is no rules provision in one code or a minor difference and the guidelines are to treat as essentially the same in both codes, no listing is included. Also, full detail is not provided in some cases; the reader is encouraged to check the reference.

–George Demetriou, February 2017