NFHS Baseball Rule Changes: Prohibition of Jewelry Removed in High School Baseball Rules
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — High school baseball players and coaches will be permitted to wear jewelry in 2023 after the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee voted to remove its prohibition from the rules. Previously, only medical and religious medals were permitted by rule.
This change to Rule 1-5-12 was one of the rules changes approved by the committee at its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
While most jewelry will be permitted, the Baseball Rules Committee noted that the current rules still state that any jewelry worn that poses harm or injury to a player or opponent should be removed.
“The game of baseball has evolved and players have demonstrated that wearing a bracelet or a necklace does not impede their ability to play or increase any risk to themselves or their opponents,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.
The committee also added a definition for a lodged ball, which is when a ball remains on the playing field, but becomes wedged, stuck, lost or unreachable causing it to stop abruptly or not fall or roll immediately. The ball is declared a dead ball. The definition was necessary to differentiate when a ball becomes lodged in a fielder’s glove, in which the ball remains in play.
Rule 6 was adjusted to only use the pivot foot to determine whether a pitcher is delivering a pitch from the wind-up or set position. Previously, the position of both feet on the pitcher’s plate determined either the wind-up or set positions, prohibiting a “hybrid” position where the pivot foot was in the wind-up position and the non-pivot foot was in the set position.
“The Rules Committee received tremendous input from coaches and umpires that allowing the ‘hybrid’ would assist players to succeed in pitching,” Hopkins said. “Anytime we can write a rule to improve playability or increase participation, then it is prudent that we do so for the sake of the participants.”
Rule 1-5-4 added language clarifying that eye shields attached to a catcher’s mask after manufacture are prohibited. Eye shields that are attached at the time of manufacture must be clear.
In addition, the officials signals for baseball were updated to include eight pre-pitch situations and eight signals during play and results.
A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Baseball.”
According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys with 482,740 student-athletes in 16,170 high schools nationwide. The survey also indicated that 1,284 girls across the country play high school baseball.
2023 BASEBALL RULES CHANGES
1-5-4: Clarified that eye shields that are not intended for a baseball catchers helmet and mask combination and any tinted eye shields should not be attached to face masks.
1-5-12: Deleted the jewelry rule. Exceptions are covered under other existing rules.
2-4-4 (NEW): Clarified the definition of a lodged ball.
3-3-1d: Deleted the jewelry rule. Exceptions are covered under other existing rules.
6-1-1, 6-1-2, 6-1-3: Modified the pitching rule with the elimination of the relevance of the non-pivot foot. The pivot foot will be the determining factor to decide if the pitcher is in the wind-up or set pitching position.
Officials Signals: Umpire signals have been separated into two categories: Pre-Pitch Situational Changes and During Play and Results of Play.
Baseball Rules Interpretations - 2022
Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2022
SITUATION 1: Having sustained a concussion earlier in the season, the shortstop is released to play provided the player wears a protective helmet. The helmet is composed of a single, dark color that is non-reflective and has no earflaps. It does not have a NOCSAE seal or stamp on it. The base umpire tells the coach that the player may not use the helmet as it is not NOCSAE-certified and does not have dual ear flaps. RULING: This is a legal helmet for a defensive player to wear. Helmets for defensive players do not have to have a NOCSAE certification. (1-5-5)
SITUATION 2: The home team coach, at the plate conference, hands the plate umpire three baseballs for the game. The home plate umpire notices that while the baseballs have the NFHS Authenticating Mark, they do not have the SEI/NOCSAE certification mark. The home team coach says these are the only baseballs the team has and the visiting team only has practice baseballs. RULING: Both the NFHS Authenticating Mark and the SEI/NOCSAE mark are required to be on all baseballs used in high school competition. The game may not be played. (1-3-1)
SITUATION 3: The plate umpire notices that several infielders on the visiting team are wearing their signal sweatbands on their belt. The visiting team’s head coach says the umpires, at the last game, ruled the equipment legal. RULING: Equipment must be worn as intended by the manufacturer. Sweatbands were not made to be worn on a belt. This equipment is not legal if worn on a belt. (1-5-11)
SITUATION 4: During infield before the game, the base umpire notices that the first baseman has a piercing and informs the coach that it is not legal and must be removed before the game begins. The coach shows the umpire an approval letter from the respective state association. RULING: A player, with a doctor’s permit, may request the school and state association for approval to wear the piercing. If the school and the state association both approve, the piercing may be worn provided it is covered. (1-5-12; 2018 Points of Emphasis)
SITUATION 5: With the home team behind by one run in the bottom of the seventh, there are two outs and a runner on third base. The batter-runner hits a home-run for an apparent walk-off win. The runner from third touches home, and the batter-runner touches first base and celebrates with teammates before going to the dugout. Before the umpires leave the field, the defensive team appeals the batter-runner not touching second base. The home team coach argues that all that is needed in a walkoff win situation is for the runner from third to touch home and the batter-runner to touch first base. RULING: Upon a valid and legal appeal, the batter-runner will be declared out and the game will continue tied in the eighth inning. All bases, including awarded bases, must be touched. (2-2; 8-2-1)
SITUATION 6: Dolan is listed as the P/ DH for the visiting team. In the fifth inning, Dolan was substituted for by another pitcher but legally returned in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Dolan (as the DH) hits a double and the coach wants to pinch-run for Dolan. The umpire correctly tells the coach this is permissible, but using a pinch-runner will not only eliminate the role of the DH for the remainder of the game, but will end Dolan’s role as pitcher in the game since a starting player cannot re-enter back to the game twice. What can the coach do that will allow a runner and keep Dolan as a pitcher? RULING: As a player/DH, Dolan has two roles: the pitcher when the team is on defense and as the DH when the team is on offense. The coach may tell the plate umpire that Dolan, who is on second base, is no longer there as a DH but as the pitcher who is also a hitter, thus ending the role of the DH for the game. This is legal. Then, Dolan, on base as the pitcher, may have a courtesy runner run with no impact on the substitution. (3-1-3, 3-1-4, CR1, CR3)
SITUATION 7: In the third inning, Sanders, who is listed fourth in the batting order as the P/DH, is hit by a pitch and is replaced by Coleman, who will run for Sanders. Coleman bats in the fourth inning and strikes out. In the sixth inning, Sanders re-enters the game to (a) pinch-hit for Coleman or (b) play defense for Abel at first base with Coleman continuing to pitch. RULING: Legal in (a). While the role of the DH is done for the game, Sanders may re-enter and is a defensive player, who is also a hitter. Illegal in (b). Sanders and Coleman are “locked” into the same lineup spot and cannot be in the game on defense at the same time. (3-1-4)
SITUATION 8: Following a home run, the offensive team gathers around home plate with mock up “tiki” torches and a plastic long spear. As the runners touch all the bases, the team engages in a Polynesian style dance. As the batter- runner touches home plate, the entire team jumps high in the air, shouts “boom” as they all fall in a circle. RULING: While it is important for a team to celebrate exciting events in the game, it cannot be done in a manner that disrespects and humiliates the opposing team. Excessive and orchestrated celebrations that taunt and/or intimidate are not part of a high school game and are not to be allowed. The coach of the team involved may be warned, restricted to the bench or even ejected depending upon the circumstances. (3-3-1f1, 3; 2022 Points of Emphasis)
SITUATION 9: With two hours elapsed, the game is in the top of the third inning with a score of 24-0 for the home team. Both coaches agree that continuing the game is not in the best interest of either team and wish to end the game officially. RULING: At any point in a game, by mutual agreement of both coaches and the umpire-in-chief, a game may be shortened or terminated. (4-2-4)
SITUATION 10: After eight complete innings with the score still tied, the umpires suspend the game due to darkness. Due to pitch-count regulations, A1, the starting home team pitcher has a mandatory rest day on the day the game is scheduled to resume. The home team replaces A1 with A2 and claims that A2 is now considered to be the starting pitcher and has re-entry ability the same as if A2 had started the original game. RULING: When a suspended game is resumed, the game continues as if the game had not been interrupted. Accordingly, the starting pitcher cannot be “replaced” by another starting pitcher. If the starting pitcher cannot continue to pitch, the substitute pitcher is a substitute and will not be considered the starting pitcher. The substitute pitcher has no re-entry ability. In a suspended game, substitutes who were not at the original game can be added to the substitution list. (4-2-4, 3-1-3, 6-1-6)
SITUATION 11: The pitcher is wearing — on the non-throwing arm — a black, non-distracting sweatband which contains pitch and defensive signals that the pitcher wears under a Velcro flap. The opposing coach insists that the pitcher must remove the sweatband from the non-throwing arm. RULING: The wearing of this sweatband is legal as it is not distracting to the batter. (1- 4-2, 6-2-1f)
SITUATION 12: It is a cold night with a wind that is creating a noticeable wind-chill. The pitcher is wearing a full-face, cold-weather mask that is of a solid dark color. The opposing team is insistent that this mask must be removed. RULING: Provided that this mask creates no distraction to the batter, it is legal and may continue to be worn. The umpire has sole authority to judge whether or not an item is distracting. (6-2-1f PENALTY)
SITUATION 13: To communicate defensive and pitch signals, the home team uses posters that have emblems, colors and icons. The pitcher looks to the dugout, sees the team pointing to various parts of the posters and gets the sign for the next pitch. The pitcher now legally gets on the pitching plate, and without looking at the catcher begins the pitching motion. RULING: This is an illegal pitch. A pitcher is required to take the sign or simulate taking the sign from the catcher when legally on the pitching plate. (6-1-1)
SITUATION 14: The coach announces a color and a number that tells the pitcher what the next pitch should be when F1 checks the armband worn on the non-throwing arm. The pitcher next legally gets on the pitcher’s plate, gets set and looks into the catcher. The pitcher then begins the pitching motion. RULING: This is legal. A pitcher is required to take the sign or simulate taking the sign from the catcher when legally on the pitching plate. (6-1-1)
SITUATION 15: The count is 1-2 when the runner on second base attempts to steal third base. As the batter looks at an outside pitch, the catcher attempts to throw to third base to put out the runner stealing. The catcher’s throw hits the batter’s bat and is deflected into a dugout. Even though the batter had not moved, the defensive coach insists that batter interference be called. RULING: This is not batter interference. It is a throw that goes into a dead-ball area. Award the runner from second base home and score the run. The batter remains at bat with a 2-2 count. (7-3-5).
SITUATION 16: With R2 on second base and one out, a ground ball is hit to the third baseman. The third baseman bobbles the ball and throws low to first base. The batter-runner (BR) slides into first as the thrown ball from third bounces off the first baseman’s mitt and into the BR’s jersey. When the third baseman threw the ball to first, R2 was attempting to advance to third base. When no one could find the baseball, R2 advances to home. The defensive team coach is adamant that the BR should be out and that R2 be returned to second base. The offensive team coach is equally adamant that the play should stand. RULING: When the ball became lodged in the offensive player’s jersey, it is immediately dead. The batter-runner is awarded first base. Because R2 was attempting to advance at the time the ball became lodged, R2 is awarded third base. (8-3-3f; 5-1-1g-4)
SITUATION 17: A pitch that is low and hard gets by the catcher and ends up in the backstop fence that is a short distance behind the plate. R2, on second base, sees the ball get by the catcher and attempts to advance to third base. The batter-runner attempts to advance to first base as the pitch was ball four. As the catcher goes to retrieve the ball, it falls from the fence and the catcher picks it up and throws to third in time to retire R2. RULING: This is a lodged ball and is immediately dead. R2 is awarded third base one base since it was a pitch) and the batter-runner is awarded first base due to the pitch being ball four. (8-3-3d, 8-1-1c, 5-1-1g3, 2022 Points of Emphasis)
SITUATION 18: With runners on second and third and one out, the batter swings at strike three and the pitch gets past the catcher. The batter turns and begins to walk to the third base dugout as R3 attempts to come home. With instructions from the dugout to run, the batter-runner turns around and runs to first and in so doing cross the home plate area as the pitcher nears home plate in an attempt to put out R3. There is no contact as the batter-runner runs between the pitcher and the catcher. However, as the catcher throws the ball to the pitcher covering home, the pitcher is distracted and the ball goes to the pitcher’s mound. The defensive team’s head coach demands that interference be called. RULING: This is not interference. The batter-runner has the right to attempt to advance to first base and has done nothing intentional. Even if the batter-runner mistakenly thought about advancing, that act itself would still not be considered interference. Score R3 and leave the batter-runner at first base. (8-1-1b)
SITUATION 19: With bases empty and a two-strike count, the batter swings as the pitch hits the dirt and bounces off the catcher. The batter-runner comes out of the box running toward first base with the bat still in hand. The pitch that bounced off the catcher’s shin guards, hits the bat and rolls to the backstop as the batter-runner makes first safely. RULING: Since the batter-runner has not yet advanced to the 45-foot running lane, the batter-runner can only interfere if the batter-runner intentionally interferes on a thrown ball or intentionally hinders a fielder. A strike three where a batter becomes a runner, is treated as a thrown ball situation. Even if the batter-runner, starting to advance to first base, unintentionally kicks the ball or contacts the catcher trying to field the ball, neither case is interference if unintentional. (8-1-1b, 8-4-1a)
SITUATION 20: With runners on first and third there are two outs. The batter hits a fly ball to right field. R3 immediately comes home, but R1, thinking there is only one out, remains on first base to tag up. The first base coach sees R1 still at first base and gives R1 a slight push to get moving. R3 has crossed the plate just before the push and the fly ball falls at F9’s feet for a base hit. RULING: When a coach physically assists a runner during playing action, the assisted runner is called out immediately and the ball remains live and in play. This is a timing play and the run will count since R3 touched home prior to the out being declared. The defense did not force R3 out so the third out is not considered to be a force out. (8-4-2s, 3-2-2, 9-1-1)
2022 Points of Emphasis
The NFHS Baseball Rules Committee and the NFHS Board of Directors believes there are areas of the game of interscholastic baseball that need to be addressed and given special attention. These areas of concern are often cyclical – some areas need more attention than others, and that is why they might appear in the rules book for consecutive editions. These concerns are identified as “Points of Emphasis.” For the 2022 high school baseball season, attention is being called to: Excessive Celebration, Proper Use of Equipment, Sitting on Buckets (Coaches), Lodged Ball Procedure and Sportsmanship. When a topic is included in the Points of Emphasis, these topics are important enough to reinforce throughout the academic year because additional attention is warranted.
Any walk-off game winning base hit or home run generates immediate excitement for the player who hit the ball, his teammates and fans. Adolescent emotion is at its best when a young person does something successful and we get to celebrate that achievement with them. Unfortunately, we have evolved from celebratory High – Fives and cheers to a more choreographed celebration that now includes props and players being assigned specific roles. It has almost become a theater quality production performed at the expense of the opponents and their feelings. There is no educational value in that “one-upmanship” or showboating. The losing team feels bad enough that their play has cost them the loss. Nothing positive is gained from “rubbing it in”. In fact, there is more of an opportunity for ill feelings and retaliatory behavior which is not conducive to the conclusion and value of the contest. Education-based athletics is so much more than just winning. It is about hard work, commitment, dedication, sacrifice, teamwork and perspective. We must teach our students not only how to be a respectful and graceful winner but how to accept loss as well and be able to bounce back to give maximum effort at the next available contest. While winning and losing are a perfect “teachable moment” opportunity, disrespectful behavior severely erodes the basic premise of educational-based athletics. Coaches should be a huge advocate in preventing this type of behavior from occurring. We need their help to make sure that the excessive celebrations do not sabotage all the good that comes out of sports. However, if coaches are unable to manage the emotions of their players or the theatrics of celebration, then the game umpires have existing rules that provide warnings, possible restrictions and ultimately ejections from the contest. We need to return the game to its purest form.
Proper Use of Equipment
Equipment manufacturers spend millions of dollars to ensure that their products are held to high industry standards. When a player modifies or misuses the equipment in a way that it was not meant to be used, it totally places the equipment manufacturer in a precarious position. Everything is tested as it is supposed to be worn or used. When someone alters that product, it violates the equipment’s warranty and leaves the end-user uncertain that the product will perform…or protect the wearer from injury or harm.
Sitting on Buckets (Coaches)
Coaches, players, substitutes, attendants or other bench personnel shall not leave the dugout during live ball for any unauthorized purpose. Coaches or team personnel may not sit outside the dugout/bench on buckets or stools. It is risk minimization at its purest form. If the coaches are out of the dugout on buckets, then the players will feel emboldened to come talk with them and ultimately sit outside of the dugout/bench area as well. We have an obligation to protect and set a good example for the students we coach and care about not to entice them to break the rules. High school sports have always been about teaching skill and work ethic while modeling appropriate behavior. Staying in the dugout/bench area is another example of showing our students the “right” way to do things.
Lodged Ball Procedure
When a lodged ball situation occurs, there is always a lot of energy behind if the ball is truly lodged or is the defensive player practicing in gamesmanship. We have seen at different levels that when a ball gets lodged in a glove the quick-thinking fielder removes his glove and throws it to the respective base to register the force out. While it is an exciting play that takes skill and a little bit of luck to accomplish, we do not have that many lodged balls in high school baseball. A baseball that remains on the playing field but has become wedged, stuck, lost, unreachable, is defined to be a lodged ball. If the ball impacts something, stops abruptly, and does not fall or roll immediately, it is considered lodged. We have existing rules to deal with a batted or thrown ball that enters a player’s uniform, catcher’s equipment or umpire’s equipment. However, if a ball becomes stuck in the webbing of the fielder’s glove, it remains in play. The glove/ball combination is treated as a live ball and enjoys all the benefits of a live ball.
Players are not allowed to stand or kneel outside their dugout/bench and make “catcalls” or any other disparaging remarks to the other team. Rooting for your team is an integral part of high school baseball. Supporting your teammates is extremely important and encouraged, however, making disparaging remarks toward your opponent is not part of the game, in fact it detracts from the contest. The purpose of interscholastic sports is educational. Chants/intentional distractions/loud noises (natural or artificial) directed at the opponent’s pitcher prior to his pitching, the batter preparing to hit, or a fielder getting ready to make a play is not good sportsmanship and should not be accepted. We should strive to have our young people play to the best of their ability and let their natural talent be the barometer of their success.
Unsportsmanlike behavior shall not be tolerated in interscholastic baseball. Umpires and coaches need to work together for the benefit of the students they officiate and teach. It is these game situations that provide coaches and umpires excellent “teachable moments” to reinforce proper behavior and perspective. The positive values that are learned at the baseball diamond will serve the young people long after their high school careers have ended.
2020-21 Baseball Considerations
In support of the Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities, the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee offers this document for state associations to consider whether any possible rules could be altered for the 2020-21 season. The considerations outlined in this document are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there might be additional steps in each school, city, and state to help prevent the spread of virus. Even when taking all precautions, there will still be risk of transmitting illnesses. Everyone should stay vigilant about the health of members of their teams. Lastly, the situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing. These considerations may quickly become outdated. Please keep up with the latest from the CDC and other health officials in your state.
Return to Competition
- Have hand sanitizer and wipes available at the field.
- Wash stations or sanitizer at each dugout.
- No one touches the score sheet except the scorer.
- Disinfect the bench/dugout prior to competition.
- Not allowing fans.
- Everyone wears masks at the ballfield.
- Stagger seating of fans.
- Check the fans’ temperature prior to admission.
- Minimize the number of spectators.
- Each team provides sanitized balls (bucket) while on defense.
- Have a bucket of “dirty” balls available so they can be sanitized after the game.
- Sanitize bases after each contest.
Considerations for Coaches:
- Wear masks on and off the field.
- No line-up card exchange.
- Eliminate handshakes post-game.
- Maintain 6’ distance between players and umpires.
- No seeds, gum or spitting.
- Evaluate pre-existing health conditions.
Considerations for Players:
- No seeds, gum or spitting.
- Players must clean and sanitize equipment after each game
- Social distancing on the bench and/or dugout.
- No sharing of water bottles.
- No sharing of batting helmets.
- No sharing of catcher’s equipment.
- No sharing of bats.
- Sanitize all equipment after each game.
- No physical contact.
- Eliminate handshakes post game.
- Eliminate handshakes with coaches/umpires pre-game.
- Evaluate pre-existing health conditions.
- Carry hand sanitizer.
- If the pitcher puts his/her hands to their mouth off the mound and touches the ball, “Time” is called, a new ball is inserted and the pitcher much sanitize their hands before throwing the next pitch.
Considerations for Umpires:
- Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently
- Don’t share equipment.
- No touching of baseballs.
- No line-up card exchange.
- The umpire-in-chief should wear a face mask behind the plate.
- Clean equipment after each game.
- Follow social distancing guidelines. Consider six feet minimum distance when talking to others (players, coaches, other umpires) at plate meeting.
- Do not shake hands and follow pre and post-game ceremony guidelines established by state associations.
- Evaluate pre-existing health conditions.
Considerations for Parents
(A family’s role in maintaining safety guidelines for themselves and others):
- Make sure your child and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition (if there is doubt stay home),
- Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
- Disinfect your students’ personal equipment after each game or practice.
Answer to a common question as the MLB rules have allowed a return to two piece catcher's protection head gear:
Q: I have a question for you concerning catchers head protection in baseball. It is our understanding that the older style head protection consisting of the scull cap – (no earflaps) and the wire faceguard is illegal at the HS level. The newer hockey style head protection is legal and approved at the HS level for baseball catchers. Is this correct? Can you send me the ruling on this? We have a number of coaches and players wanting to order the style we feel is illegal.
A: You are correct. Those are illegal and have been for quite some time. They must have full ear protection.
Rule 1 Players, Field and Equipment
SECTION 5 PLAYER EQUIPMENT
ART. 3 . . . The catcher shall wear, in addition to a head protector, a mask with a throat protector, body protector, protective cup (male only), and baseball protective shin guards.
ART. 4 . . . The catcher's helmet and mask combination shall meet the NOCSAE standard. Any helmet or helmet and mask combination shall have full ear protection (dual ear flaps). A throat protector, which is either a part of or attached to the catcher's mask, is mandatory. A throat protector shall adequately cover the throat. The commercially manufactured catcher's head, face and throat protection may be a one-piece or multi-piece design. While in a crouch position, any non-adult warming up a pitcher at any location shall wear a head protector, a mask with a throat protector and a protective cup (male only).
PENALTY: Failure by a player to wear proper equipment after being so ordered by the umpire, shall result in ejection.
Pace of Game Play
The NFHS baseball committee identified these areas in need of improvements that detract from what otherwise is an exciting and enjoyable game:
- Handling offensive and defensive charged conferences in a timely manner.
- Speeding up the time between innings (1 minute) and during pitching changes.
- Maintaining the time between pitches (20 seconds).
- Umpires diligently counting the number of warm-up pitches.
- The batter’s box rule (the batter must generally keep one foot in the box during an at-bat). Unless it meets one of the eight exceptions:
- The batter swings at the pitch.
- The batter is forced out of the box by the pitch.
- The batter attempts a “drag bunt.”
- The pitcher or catcher feints or attempts a play at any base.
- The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound or takes a position more than five feet from the pitcher’s plate after receiving the ball.
- A member of either team requests and is granted “Time.”
- The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to adjust his equipment or give defensive signals.
- The catcher does not catch the pitched ball.
The “Introduction to Pitch Smart” online course produced by USA Baseball has been added to the available courses through the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
“Pitch Smart” is a joint arm-care initiative between USA Baseball and Major League Baseball aimed at reducing arm injuries by amateur pitchers by providing comprehensive resources for safe pitching practices.
Baseball coaches will have up to five days of pitching instruction during the week prior to the first date for baseball practice (Sun to Sat). Only one session per day per athlete is permitted with the maximum length of two hours per individual.
Regulations for Baseball Pitcher Instruction
To: NFHS Member State Associations’ Baseball Liaisons
From: B. Elliot Hopkins, MLD, CAA, Director of Sports, Sanctioning and Student Services
Subject: New NOCSAE Chest Protector Pad is Identified
Date: November 25, 2019 ________________________________________________________________________
We recently identified that a NOCSAE certified chest pad that protects the heart and the cardiac silhouette is being offered by chest protector manufacturers to fit on top of an existing non-NOCSAE approved chest protector making the chest protector compliant with our rules. This pad meets the criteria of our NFHS Baseball Rule 1-5-3. Coaches are responsible for knowing if their catcher’s chest/body protector equipment meets the rule and should affirm that fact with the umpire-in-chief prior to the start of the ball game.
This new pad adds another alternative to the new chest/body protector rule. You now have three options: 1) a new traditional chest protector that protects the heart/cardiac silhouette and meets the NOCSAE performance standard; 2) a body protector (compression shirt with heart guard built into the shirt) that that protects the heart/cardiac silhouette and meets the NOCSAE performance standard under the traditional chest protector; 3) a chest pad that that protects the heart/cardiac silhouette and meets the NOCSAE performance standard that fits on top of the traditional chest protector. As we receive more information as to what these pads look like, we will share their images with you.
NOTE: Chest pads that meet the NOCSAE performance standard are not proprietary to a specific chest protector manufacturer. (ex. A Brodell brand chest pad can be worn on a Dolan brand chest protector. It is not specific to only a Brodell brand chest protector.)