USA Softball News February 2020 Plays ...

February 2020 Plays and Clarifications

Feb. 10, 2020, 9:58 a.m. (ET)

February Plays and Clarifications


From the Director of Umpires

We know there are questions about what an adult umpire needs to do and how often they need to do it when it comes to Registering, Background Checks and Safe Sport. We are constantly updating everyone as any information is available. We sent the below information out to the Regional Umpire-in-Chief Staff via email and wanted to share with the masses. We reached out to Devin and Savannah at the National Office with some information John Wright from Region 9 put together. They have reworded it, updated the information and in my opinion made it cover what we must do as umpires.

Below we hope explains when registrations are required, background checks are good and safe sport is needed. Please feel free to send to any and all State and Metro UICs.


  • Registration (inclusive to insurance) has a 90-day grace period into the next season.  So, if your umpire was registered in 2019, they are covered until April 1st of 2020.


  • Background checks are only good for the season they are completed in.  If your umpire was background checked in the 2019 season (between 9/1/2018 and 8/31/2019), it expired on December 31st of 2019.  In order to fulfill the background check requirement for any USA Softball activities in 2020, the umpire must have a 2020 background check that was taken and cleared on or after 9/1/2019.


  • The SafeSport training is good for the season it was taken in. In order to be compliant with the SafeSport requirement for the 2020 season, ONLY ONE of the below courses must be completed between 9/1/2019 and 8/31/2020.


SafeSport Course Breakdown (listed in order of availability; 2nd course is only available after the 1st and so on. ONLY ONE COURSE NEEDS TO BE TAKEN PER SEASON.):

  1. SafeSport Core Training (this contains 3 modules: Sexual Misconduct Awareness, Mandatory Reporting, and Emotional & Physical Misconduct)
  2. Refresher 1: Recognizing and Reporting Misconduct
  3. Refresher 2: Preventing Misconduct


SafeSport is the result of a Federal Law put forth in 2017. As the NGB, USA Softball is on the front end of setting the standard for other softball organizations on the best practices of promoting an environment that is free from all forms of abuse. It is also important to note that SafeSport compliance is now becoming mandatory with insurance providers; if you don’t require SafeSport, then the insurance providers will begin declining coverage regardless of what organization you are with.

All adult USA Softball Umpires that are involved in any form of JO play where minors ages 17 and under are on the field, at any level, must be SafeSport trained. 

Completion of registration, background check screening, and SafeSport training prior to participation are in place to ensure we are doing our due diligence in putting the best umpires forward in this game of softball.  In order to provide a safe environment for all of our members, we must first put in a little work that will go a long way. 

Thank you all for your continued support and cooperation. Change is never easy; but when it is for the safety of our youth, then we must push through for them!

Play: In an 18U Gold F1 starts with the pivot foot on top of the pitcher’s plate and the non-pivot foot in touch with the back of the pitcher’s plate. F1 simultaneously begins to step back with the non-pivot foot as the hands come together. As F1 separates their hands and begins to step forward with the non-pivot foot the umpire calls an Illegal Pitch. Correct?

Ruling: This is not an illegal pitch. A 2020 rule change allows a pitcher in Girls Fast Pitch to start with both feet on the pitcher’s plate or one foot on the pitcher’s plate and step back prior to separating their hands. Rule 6A, Section 1C & E

Play: Junior Olympic Fast Pitch, R1 on 1B with 1 out. F1 is called for an illegal pitch as R1 is stealing 2B. F2 throws to 2B to retire R1. Since this was not a batted ball R1 remains out and B3 is awarded a ball on the batter. Correct?

Ruling: Incorrect. The new rule provides we no longer advance a runner on an illegal pitch. Since the Batter-Runner did not reach 1B safely the offense would be given the option of the result of the play or a ball on the batter and return the runner to 1B. Rule 6A, Section 11B [2]

Play: Adult Slow Pitch R2, Watson, wants a courtesy runner. Smart goes into run as a courtesy runner for Watson. Once Watson is on 1B the coach of the offensive team realizes he wants the other Smart to be the courtesy runner. The umpires allow this.

Ruling: Correct. In Adult Slow Pitch a Courtesy Runner is not officially in the game until a pitch is made. Rule 8, Section 9B [2]

February 2020 Rule Clarifications and Plays - PDF

  February 2020 Rule Clarifications and Plays - Word Doc