NCAA rules committee tries to make games faster
OMAHA, Neb. — The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee unanimously approved two new rules intended to speed up the game. The eight-member committee, which met this week in Indianapolis, set a 20-second limit between pitches when no runners are on base and a 90-second limit between innings during non-televised games.
Barring major objections from coaches and administrators, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will adopt the changes next month, said Ty Halpin, the NCAA associate director for playing rules administration.
Anything that helps accelerate games is welcome, said Ray Tanner, the coach at national champion South Carolina.
“I’m very much a traditionalist. However, the game needs to speed up,” Tanner said Friday. “Most coaches would agree with that.”
Halpin said the betweeninnings time limit would be flexible. One of the base umpires would be in charge of monitoring the pitch and between-innings clocks.
The recommendations basically mirror the rules used on an experimental basis during the Southeastern Conference tournament in May.
A pitcher risked having a ball added to the count if he violated the 20-second rule. A batter who stepped out of the box within five seconds of the clock expiring risked having a strike added. A team offending the betweeninnings limit — set at 108 seconds to accommodate television — also faced having a ball or strike imposed.
No violations were reported at the SEC tournament, but just the threat of a penalty helped play move along.
Also, home-run celebrations will be curtailed. The rules committee said players cannot greet the home-run hitter at home plate and instead can go no farther than the warning track area outside the dugout.
Texas coach Augie Garrido said he’s heard no complaints about teams being disrespectful when celebrating.
“Absolutely it takes some of the fun out,” Garrido said. “The umpires are going to have a hell of a time carrying around a tape measure to determine what 15 feet is.”