By Greg Johnson
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a request to allow the West Coast Conference to use experimental instant replay rules during its baseball conference tournament in 2014.
The panel also agreed that the Baseball Rules Committee would have the authority to approve expansions of the experimental instant replay rules in the future.
In 2012, the Baseball Rules Committee added to the instant replay rule for the 2013 season, which originally was only for games that take place in the Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb. It allows umpires to use video replay to see if a ball originally called foul was actually fair.
For the umpires to conference in this scenario, the ball must have touched the ground beyond first or third base, have touched the ground beyond the first or third baseman and originally been called foul. 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.
Umpires are currently allowed to conference on several specific types of plays. This new rule is an expansion of the “Getting the Call Right” provisions already in the rules book.
The foul-to-fair call was one of the plays added to the instant replay experimental rule at the MCWS. In 2012, the committee permitted experimental instant replay reviews at the MCWS on the following:
There were no instant replay reviews during the 2012 or 2013 MCWS.
Baseball Rules Committee members were in favor of the West Coast Conference implementing the experimental replay rule since the league is prepared to follow the same procedures and protocols that would be followed at the MCWS.