How soon before video review is instituted into the world of college softball?

Well, although it won't happen next season; at least full-time, it now looks more inevitable than ever.

Recently, the NCAA Rules Committee proposed three rule changes to the sport, including video review, which a lot of fans are clamoring for.

Now, video review/replay is not coming to the NCAA Tournament next year, and may not even be coming, at all, to every conference, but it seems like it is now only a matter of time before it eventually does.

The committee recommended allowing conferences to experiment with video review in regular-season conference games, as well as their respective conference tournaments.

Under the recommendation, coaches will be allowed two video review challenges during a game, between innings 1-5. After that, umpires would be allowed to initiate a video review from the sixth inning until the conclusion of the game.

The following plays could be reviewed:

  • Deciding whether a batted ball called fair is fair or foul.
  • Deciding whether a batted ball called a ground-rule double or home run is fair or foul.
  • Deciding whether a batted ball called foul that could result in a ground-rule double or home run is fair or foul.
  • Spectator interference.
  • Deciding scoring plays at home plate inclusive of collisions (illegal and/or malicious slides), obstruction by a defensive player or time plays.
  • Force/tag play calls: Plays involving all runners acquiring the base before the defensive player’s attempt to put the runner out at any base.
  • Hit-by-pitch calls: Those plays for which there is a possibility that a pitched ball touches a batter or her clothing, which shall incorporate a review on whether the batter is inside or outside the batter’s box if it is determined upon review that a pitched ball has touched a batter or her clothing.
  • Placement of runners: An umpire’s placement of all runners (per the rules/case book) after any blocked ball call.
  • With runners on base, a no-catch can be changed to a catch only if it results in a third out. With no runners on base, a no-catch can be changed to a catch at any time.

Last season, the SEC experimented with video review in its conference tournament, with one call being overturned call being overturned.

The NCAA Softball Rules Committee also proposed changes to the components of the pitching position and the procedure for pitchers to take signals prior to releasing a pitch.

This rule was recommended to force pitchers to pause after getting a signal from their catcher or dugout.

The final recommendation by committee members is to require schools to purchase a barrel compression testing machine, at a cost of just under $900, to test the legality of all bats.

Keep in mind; these are all just rules recommendations, and not official.

All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss softball rules proposals July 24.

If approved, any/all rule changes would go into place for the 2020 season.

Remember; the video review proposal only gives conferences the option to experiment with it.

Conferences would still have to pass the proposal themselves, and video review is still not recommended to be in all games, including the NCAA Tournament.