2020-21 Softball Rule Considerations for COVID – Updated

2020-21 Softball Rule Considerations

In support of the Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities, the NFHS Softball 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.

  1. Softball Rule Considerations

      Additional Equipment (1-8): Cloth facial coverings are recommended but not required.  Facial
coverings must be of one color, not distracting, and no designs. Pitchers cannot wear
optic yellow cloth facial coverings.

Pregame Conference (2-14-2):
Limit attendees to one coach from each team plus the umpires. Coaches should stay outside the width of the batter’s box at home plate, maintaining 6 feet of distance between each person.

Substitutions: (3-3-3): The verbal exchange should occur 6 feet from the coach to scorer and
opposing team when making lineup changes.

Coaching (3-5-1 NOTE): Contact with the game balls should be as limited as possible.

Coaching (3-5-3, 3-6-14): Coaches who wish to discuss a rule or a ruling on the field must
maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from the umpire.

      Coaching (3-5-2): Base coaches must stay 6 feet from a runner at all times after suspension of

      Bench and Field Conduct (3-6-6): Players should not leave the dugout area to
congratulate players when scoring or after home runs.  The number of individuals in the dugout
is dependent on the size of dugout.  Players and coaches must maintain 6 feet of social
distance.  NFHS rules allow for dugouts/designated warm up areas to be extended to provide
for social distancing.

Charged Conferences (3-7-1, 3-7-2, 3-7-3): Coaches holding offensive or defensive conferences should maintain the 6 feet of social distance.  No more than 2 players plus the pitcher is allowed. Only one coach is permitted during the conference.  If a coach visits the pitcher, all other players should stay outside the pitching circle.

      Exchange of Lineup Cards (4-2-1b): Lineups should be handed to the umpire, and the umpire
will verbally approve or ask any questions about the lineup. Recommended for lineup cards
exchanged team to team and teams to scorekeeper to be shared via photo or text.

Equipment and Apparel (10-4-2): Cloth facial coverings are recommended but not required.  Must be of one color and not distracting and no designs.  Umpire may wear disposable glove and masks.

  1. Softball Umpires Manual Modifications

      Mechanics Sections 3, 4b and c
      Base umpires should maintain 6 feet from any player as a starting position when rotated and/or
counter rotated.

      Section 2E

      Keep the catcher and batter at a 6-foot distance when dusting off the plate.

  1. No mask no entry.


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