INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (July 10, 2023) — Four rule changes including uniforms and equipment were announced for high school softball season by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Seven changes were recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee in June and approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Beginning January 1, 2027, softball uniforms may display only the player’s name, school name or nickname, school mascot and/or school logo as part of Rule 3-2-3 of the NFHS Softball Rules Book. No slogans or unofficial school nicknames will be permitted on the uniform.
An additional uniform change for the 2024 season was approved in Rule 3-2-5, which more clearly defines what can be worn on the head to be consistent with other NFHS sports.
Changes to Rule 3-2-7 clarify where wristbands with a playbook/playcard attached can be worn. The equipment is only permitted to be worn on a player’s wrist or arm, and pitchers must wear it on their non-pitching arm, prohibiting wristbands from being worn on the belt.
In another change, Rule 1-8-6 now permits electronic information to be transmitted to the dugout from anywhere outside of live ball area. This reflects current technology and still requires that electronic devices are used in the dugout but no longer stipulates where the video is recorded or how it is transmitted.
In a modification to Rule 6-1-2c, beginning next year, pitchers in high school softball will be allowed to disengage both feet from the playing surface if the pivot foot is not replanted prior to the delivery of the pitch. Previously, the pivot foot was required to remain in contact with the ground.
“When examining the survey responses, the NFHS Softball Rules Committee recognized that a majority of the membership were in favor of this change,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. “An additional topic the committee discussed was whether a pitcher gains an advantage by having their pivot foot airborne vs. having it remain in contact with the ground. Our rules have traditionally allowed for flexibility to accommodate the differing skill levels of high school athletes. This change allows for exploration of different styles of pitching during student-athletes’ developmental stages.”
The NFHS Softball Rules Committee further clarified the list of approved and non-approved substances to be used as drying agents for the pitcher in Rule 6-2-2. The rule specifies that dirt is not considered a foreign substance and does not have to be wiped from the hand prior to contacting the ball. Acceptable use of drying agents under the supervision and control of the umpire includes powdered rosin or any comparable drying agent listed on USA Softball’s certified equipment website.
New High School Softball Specifications Take Effect in 2025
New softball specifications will go into effect in 2025. The new ball specifications for 12-inch fast pitch softball will have a compression of 325 pounds with a plus-minus of 50 (range of 275-375 pounds). The minimum weight will increase from 6¼ to 6½ ounces with a maximum of 7 ounces and the circumference will be 11⅞ to 12¼ inches.
The new ball specifications are permissible currently and will be required for use in high school competition starting January 1, 2025. Balls manufactured with the current specifications will be permitted for use through the 2024 season. The changes do not represent a difference in ball performance but allow for better control over the manufacturing process, according to NFHS.
The new specifications for the softball will go into effect in NCAA softball on January 1, 2024.
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