WCWS: Pool Reporter Q&A – Obstruction Rule

2017 WCWS UCLA/Texas A&M Game

2017 WCWS Pool Reporter Q-A Concerning UCLA vs Texas A&M Game Obstruction Rule

June 3, 2017
Women's College World Series
Oklahoma City

Interview with NCAA Softball Secretary and Rules Editor Vickie Van Kleeck regarding a play at home plate in the sixth inning of the Texas A&M-UCLA game Saturday at the Women’s College World Series in which UCLA’s Gabrielle Maurice was tagged out at home plate.

Q: What is the rule regarding obstruction on that particular play?

A: In that particular play that occurred at home plate, it’s not an obstruction issue. It’s a collision, Rule 12.13. The fielder has the right to field the errant throw, and the base runner has the right to run to home plate, and then we have a collision. It’s not an obstruction issue. They both had a right to be where they were, and unfortunately, they came together and made contact. Obstruction doesn’t enter into that particular play.

Q: Can you explain what was different about that play and the play at home plate in Thursday’s game between UCLA and LSU when obstruction did come into play?

A: This was a question of the fielder being able to do what she had the right to do and the runner being able to do what she was allowed to do. They ended up at the same position and there was incidental contact. What happened on Thursday was a situation that falls under a possible obstruction where the catcher was positioned in front of the plate and in the judgment of the umpire, she must determine if she’s in the act of catching the ball.

Q: What is the ruling regarding UCLA assistant coach Lisa Fernandez making contact with an umpire while arguing the call?

A: Coach Fernandez was ejected originally for arguing, and as a result of physical contact with the umpire, she has to serve an additional two-game suspension.

Q: Will that carry over to next season if UCLA only plays one more game in the WCWS?

A: Yes, it would.

NCAA Rule 12.13 addresses collisions, which stats: The rules committee is concerned about unnecessary and violent collisions with the catcher at home plate and with infielders at all bases. The intent of this rule is to encourage runners and defensive players to avoid such collisions, whenever possible.

Rule 12.13.3 is the portion of the rule that came into play duringSaturday’s incident. It states: Simply because there is contact between the defensive and offensive player does not mean that obstruction or interference has occurred.

Regarding UCLA coach Lisa Fernandez being ejected, and then making contact with an umpire while arguing the call, the rule in play is Rule 13.3: Any threat of physical intimidation or harm, including pushing, shoving, spitting, kicking, throwing at or attempting to make aggressive physical contact, or use of equipment in a combative manner, shall not be tolerated and is grounds for a behavioral ejection combined with suspension. EFFECT—The ejecting umpire shall notify the head coach and the on-site administrator that the reason for the ejection is violation of Rule 13.3. Notice shall take place not later than at the conclusion of the game (if video review is not requested or available) or after video review by the umpires after the game, if allowed under Rule 5.9.7. The perpetrator shall be ejected and then suspended from the institution’s next two previously scheduled and played contests in a traditional season (spring).

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