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Explanation of the NCAA's Banned-Bat Protest Procedure

A conference call to ask questions about the NCAA banned-bat protest procedure will be held at 8 p.m. Eastern time January 15. The telephone number and confirmation code were printed in the December issue of Fastpitch Delivery, however, if you are an NFCA member and need the information again, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You are asked to dial-in 10 minutes early.

The following procedure was developed by the NCAA Softball Rules Committee for games governed by NCAA softball playing rules:

1. Each Monday, the host team's coach is required to print the ASA's list of banned bats. These can be found on the ASA's Web site www.softball.org/about/certified_equipment.asp.

2. The host team's head coach is required to provide the list of banned bats to the umpires (who will inspect the bats at pregame) and opposing teams before the start of each contest, doubleheader or tournament, starting during the traditional spring season. The list, which is to be printed each Monday and will be good for the following seven days, will ensure that the list hasn't changed since the umpires' last assignment. It is ultimately the responsibility of all coaches to make sure equipment used is safe and equitable.

3. When viewing the banned list of bats, coaches and umpires should take special note of each model's name, since each model of each line of bat from a specific manufacturer is tested individually. For example, a bat named "Rules" produced by Company A could have four models: Rules01, RulesXL, RulesD1, RulesGO. If RulesGO is banned, the other three models are still legal, provided they are not on the banned list.

4. If a bat is questioned to be on the banned list during the course of the game, even though at the start of the game all bats were found to be legal according to the list, the following procedure will be followed:

A. The umpire must deem the bat to be illegal for the procedure to go any further. If deemed illegal, the batter is out and advance by the runners is nullified.

B. The umpire will take possession of the bat deemed to be illegal.

C. The umpire and the coach who challenged the bat will gather information for paperwork (use of the incident report or protest form to be determined at the end of the game.)

D. If the coach doesn't choose to protest, the bat is returned at the end of the game(s).

E. If a protest is filed, the protest form, bat are submitted by the umpire to NCAA secretary-rules editor, if the protesting team loses. If protesting team wins, incident report and bat are filed.

F. A legal bat will be returned to its owner with confirming letter; an illegal bat will be returned at owner's expense to the athletics director.

G. The team using the illegal bat will forfeit the contest in question.

5. If, at the start of the game, one or more bats are judged by the umpire to be illegal, one of the following routes of action will occur: (1) The coach either agrees the bat(s) are illegal or chooses not to protest; or (2) the coach chooses to protest the game. The umpire takes possession of the bat and notifies the opposing coach.

6. If there is no protest, the following procedures will be followed:

A. The umpire will fill out an incident report about the illegal bat and turn it into the secretary-rules editor.

B. The umpire will take possession of the bat deemed to be illegal. The bat will be returned to the coach at the end of the game(s).

C. The secretary-rules editor will report the illegal bat to the institution's athletics director.

7. If the coach chooses to protest the game, the following procedures must be followed:

A. The umpire takes immediate possession of the bat and the umpire must notify the opposing coach of the protest.

B. Protest form and bat are submitted by umpire to the secretary-rules editor, if protesting team loses. If protesting team wins, incident report and bat are filed.

C. A legal bat will be returned to its owner with confirming letter; an illegal bat will be returned at owner's expense to the athletics director.

D. Since the bat was not used during the game, there is no forfeiture.

8. The rules committee is emphasizing that just like in any other protest situations, the coach could choose not to protest the game. For instance, if an illegal bat was discovered in the hands of the first batter of the game, a coach might believe that no advantage was gained, in fact the runner was called out for the rules infraction, and choose to move on with the game without a protest.

9. Bats sent to the secretary-rules editor will not be tested in any way. The only stipulation to be a legal or illegal bat is whether or not it appears on the banned list. If the bat submitted to the secretary-rules editor is found to be illegal, the institution must pay for the bat to be returned, and it will be sent to the attention of the athletics director. A bat, which is ruled to be legal, will be returned immediately to the institution with a letter verifying the bat's legality for future proof.

10. To help with understanding the process, the NCAA Softball Rules Committee notes three principles of the procedure.

A. There can't be a forfeit situation unless the banned bat was used in the game.

B. The umpire must agree that the bat is on the banned list before it is required for any paperwork and possibly the bat must be submitted to the secretary-rules editor.

C. Finally, just like with any protest procedure, the opposing coach doesn't have to protest the game.

Frequently Asked Bat-Ban Questions

How do I access the banned bat list?

The Web site address for the ASA is www.softball.org/about/certified_equipment.asp.

Note: The bats on the list with two asterisks (**) are authorized to be recertified. Bats that have been retooled and bear the recertification mark are then eligible for play.

What if I arrive at the field and the host coach doesn't have the banned-bat list to provide for the game(s)?

Although it is suggested that each coach print out his or her own list each Monday to avoid surprises during the pregame, the committee emphasizes using common sense in this situation. Here are some options to consider: Are you close enough to the office to run back and get the list? Is there someone in the office that can run the list to the field? Does anyone have a list from last week?

What happens if all of my bats are on the banned list or being protested because the umpire believes the bats are illegal?

It is important to diversify your team's bats to avoid this situation. If you have 15 bats of the same make and model this is a possibility if the bat is banned during the season. If you have three different makes and models or more, it isn't likely to happen. In the unfortunate instance where all the bats are banned, the game will be "no contest" if legal bats cannot be borrowed or purchased locally.

Why can't you tell me the color of the banned bats?

The look of each bat model changes annually, so the banned bat might have been orange last year, silver in 2001, and the initial model was blue with red writing.

How is it possible that the list might be misinterpreted so a coach or umpire believes a bat is banned when it is not?

Let's say we produce a line of bats called RULES, and RULESXL is banned and RULESGO is not. Perhaps both bats have the RULES written very largely on the barrel, but in small letters underneath the large writing is the model-XL. It is possible that the XL, which would indicate its legality for certain, has been covered by a ball mark or cleat mark. Or, if a coach or umpire is not educated in the process, he or she may not know to read that bat carefully enough to determine the difference between the two bat models.

Is the secretary-rules editor going to test the bats she receives?

Our secretary-rules editor, Dee Abrahamson, will not be testing any bats. She will simply be comparing the bat to the banned-bat list. She does have access to information from manufacturers, though, to determine the legality of a bat, which has model number markings removed or covered.

When will I get my protested bat back from the secretary-rules editor?

The umpires are being asked to ship the bat as soon as possible following the contest (or 72 hours) to the secretary-rules editor. She will return it as soon as possible, so the process will probably take four or five days to complete.

Who will be notified of the result of the protest?

The opposing coaches and athletic administrators and the umpire filing the paperwork will be informed of the outcome of the protest.

What happens if a bat is not on the banned list on Monday but is banned mid-week and put immediately on the list? And similarly, what if a bat is taken from a game on Saturday but by the time it is seen by the secretary rules editor on Monday, it is on the latest list?

Bats will be judged based on the applicable Monday's banned bat list regardless of when changes are made to the list. If a bat becomes banned during the shipping process, the secretary rules editor will rule the bat legal at the time of the game but call the institution to notify them of the change in the bat status.