The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee approved a request on Wednesday to allow the Southeastern Conference to use the experimental instant replay rules during its baseball conference tournament in May.
The SEC is the third conference to be given permission to use the experimental instant replay rules. The West Coast Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference previously had their requests approved to use it in their conference tournaments this season.
The Baseball Rules Committee added to the experimental instant replay rule for the 2013 season, allowing umpires to use video replay to decide if a batted ball is fair or foul. It was originally implemented for games that took place in the Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb. But the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel agreed last August to grant the Baseball Rules Committee the authority to approve expansions of the experimental instant replay rules in the future.
Baseball Rules Committee members are in favor of conferences implementing the replay rule since the same procedures and protocols would be followed at the MCWS.
By allowing conferences to use the instant replay rule in events outside the MCWS, the committee intends to create additional opportunities to gather feedback regarding the outcome and how well the process works from an officiating perspective.
Since 2013, the committee has permitted experimental instant replay reviews at the MCWS on the following:
- Deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul;
- Deciding whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double;
- Spectator-interference plays (only on plays involving home run balls); and
- Deciding if a batted ball is fair or foul.
For the umpires to conference on a foul-to-fair scenario, the ball must first be called foul and touch the ground beyond first or third base as well as beyond the first or third baseman. If the call is overturned, it will be up to the umpire crew chief to determine where to place all base runners on the play.
There were no instant replay reviews during the 2012 or 2013 MCWS.