Video review in college softball may soon be coming to a conference near you.

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 have been clamoring for.

On Wednesday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved video review along with components to the pitching position and bat testing.

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.

Conferences are allowed to experiment with video review in regular-season conference games and conference tournaments. Coaches will be allowed two video challenges per game.

According to the NCAA, “A challenge must be initiated verbally or visually before the next pitch; before the pitcher and all infielders have clearly vacated their normal fielding position and left fair territory, or before the umpires have left the field of play.”

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.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved 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.

This rule will be in place for next season.

The final rule approved is requiring schools to purchase a barrel compression testing machine, at a cost of just under $875, to test the legality of all bats, in time for the beginning of the 2021 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.

After one season of experimentation however, look for video review to be a part of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

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