NCAA softball games can be played using a double first base on an experimental basis for the 2022-23 academic year.
The experimental rule, which was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday, allows the fielder to use half the base and the batter-runner to use the other half.
Both teams will have to agree to use the double first base during regular-season spring games or fall competitions played in the nontraditional season. Base specifications and specific rules on how to use the base will be included later as part of the experimental rule.
Schools that choose to use this experimental rule must submit a waiver request and collect specific data points that will be outlined by the NCAA Softball Rules Committee.
The panel approved a requirement that all sideline and home run fences constructed of wood, concrete or brick be padded by Jan. 1, 2027. Padding must begin not higher than 1 foot off the ground and extend to the top of the wood, concrete or brick or 6 feet from the ground, whichever is shorter. The panel also would like the NCAA Softball Rules Committee to discuss adding all hard surfaces to this proposal.
Padding is also a requirement for backstops constructed of wood, concrete and brick and was previously strongly recommended for fences constructed of those materials.
The delayed implementation was recommended due to the costs associated with this change.