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   2024 NFHS
Rules Changes
2022 Non-Approved              Bat List
  DP Flex
    Rule 4
       Rule 3 
Rule 5
Dead Ball
     Rule 6
    Rule 7
Batting Out   of Order
Rule 8
Working the          Plate
Working the        Slot
                  24 Inch Pitching Lane                               Violations
           Plate Mechanics 
          Calling the Pitch
           Leap Crow Hop
             Leaping Pitcher
             illegal Crow Hop
     Obstruction at 3rd Base
Legal Removal/Double Touch
  Obstruction-Pick-Off at 1B
     Fair or Foul down Line
      Over Base Fair or Foul
             Look Back Rule

Softball Rules Changes - 2024

By NFHS on July 10, 2023

1-8-6: Permits electronic information to be transmitted to the dugout from anywhere outside of live ball area.
Rationale: The rule change reflects current technology and still requires that electronic devices used for coaching purposes may only be used in the dugout but does not stipulate where the video is recorded or how it is transmitted.

3-2-2: BeginningJanuary1,2027,uniforms may only bear a single manufacturer's logo, school name, school logo, mascot and/or the participant's name. Advertisements, messages, team slogans, etc., will no longer be permitted.
Rationale: Consistent language has been established for NFHS sports that describe what information is permitted on the uniform. A player’s name, school name, school nickname, school mascot and/or the school logo may be placed on the uniform.

3-2-5: Removes the color restriction for headbands and ribbons.
Rationale: Adds consistency amongst head wear requirements for other NFHS sports.

3-2-7: Defines where a wristband with a playbook/play card may be worn. If worn by the pitcher, the wristband with a playbook/play card must be worn on the non-pitching wrist or arm.
Rationale: Clarifies where this equipment can be worn. This change will prohibit wristbands from being worn on the belt. It remains legal for players to keep the wristband with a playbook/play card in their back pocket.

4-2-7, 10-2-3e, h: The umpire may call (end) a game if playing conditions in or around the facility become unacceptable to safely continue the game.
Rationale: Provides rule justification when an umpire ends a contest due to unacceptable playing conditions to continue play in addition to weather.

6-1-2c, 2-47: The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of the pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot. A definition for a replant was added.
Rationale: The rule change permits both feet to disengage from the playing surface while delivering a Page 1 of 2

8/6/23, 8:47 AM

pitch. The addition of Rule 2-47 defines that a replant of the pivot foot occurs when the pitcher pushes off the playing surface from anywhere other than the pitcher’s plate prior to the act of delivering the pitch.

6-2-2: Pitchers can only use dirt, powdered rosin or comparable drying agents that are listed on the USA Softball’s certified equipment webpage to dry the hand.
Rationale: Clarifies the difference between tape and other non-approved substances on the pitching hand or fingers versus the use of approved substances under the supervision and control of the umpire.


1-5-1c, 1-6-1, 1-7-1, 2-4-3, 1-6-1b, 7-1-2 PENALTIES 2 & 3, 7-4-4



1. Game Management

2. Unacceptable Conditions
3. Unreported vs.Illegal Substitutions

4. Pitching Mechanics: Replant

Softball Rules Changes - 2022

3‑5‑3: When in live ball areas, a coach shall be attired in a school uniform or jersey/coaching shirt with slacks, shorts, or other leg coverings in school colors or colors of khaki, black, white or gray.
Rationale: Updated language clarifies items which can be worn by coaches in a live‑ball area.

3‑6‑21 & PENALTY: Establishes the penalty when a damaged bat that was previously removed is re‑introduced into the game.
Rationale: The penalty outlines protocol for dealing with situations in which a damaged bat is removed, then re‑introduced to the game.

6‑2‑2 & NOTE: Removes language from Rule 6‑2‑2 and places it as a NOTE under the PENALTY.
Rationale: The language and rule reference is a reminder to players, coaches and officials about distracting items worn by the pitcher, but is not a part of Rule 6‑2‑2.

8‑2‑6: Clarifies a runner is considered outside the running lane when either foot last contacting the ground completely outside the lane.
Rationale: New language more adequately describes the intent of the rule and will provide more consistent enforcement.

2‑4‑3, 2‑37, 2‑38‑2, 2‑38‑3, 2‑38‑4, 3‑2‑12, 3‑7‑1 NOTE, 4‑2‑3 NOTE 2, 7‑3‑1, 7‑4‑4, 7‑4‑6, 7‑4‑7, 7‑4‑15, 7‑5‑4 PENALTY 1, 9‑5 EXCEPTION 1 and 3 2022


  1. Huddles Between Innings

  2. Guidance for Pitcher Utilization

  3. Assisting A Runner

  4. Simulating Taking a Sign


Softball Rules Changes - 2021

Due to the COVID interruption of the 2020 Season, there are no 2021 Rules changes


Softball Rules Changes - 2020

NFHS Softball Rules Changes - 2020

1-5-1e, 2-4, 2-4-3, 7-4-2 PENALTY NOTE: Damaged bats are defined. Rationale: Clarifies that a damaged bat is removed from the game without penalty.

6-1-1: Prior to starting the delivery (pitch), the pitcher shall take a position with the pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate.
Rationale: Clarifies that the pivot foot must be in contact with the pitcher’s plate, rather than on the top surface of the pitcher’s plate.

9-1-1 EXCEPTION c: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home plate during action in which the third out is made by the preceding runner who is declared out on an appeal play.
Rationale: Clarifies that on any appeal play, a run is not scored if the third out is made by a preceding runner.

1-1-7: Clarifies that game management or a state administrator may establish a dead-ball media area within the confines of the field, but that area will remain a dead-ball area throughout the game. By Iowa Adaptation, a ball passing through the media box is ruled dead ONLY if the media box is occupied while the ball passes through it.

1-5-1d: Updates to add the new USA Softball All Games certification mark. 8-4-3d PENALTY: Clarifies that the batter-runner, not the batter is awarded bases

when a fielder intentionally contacts the ball with detached equipment.


1-2-3, 2-22-4, 2-57-3, 3-4-1c, 7-1-2 PENALTY 2


  • Bat certification marks and USA Softball’s list of Non-Approved Bats with Certification Marks

  • Damaged bat vs. illegal bat penalties

  • Contact with the pitcher’s plate

  • Inspection of equipment




Softball Rules Changes - 2019 

By NFHS on July 19, 2018

1-1-7, 2-22-4, Table 5-1, 5-1-1o: The media shall be prohibited from being in live-ball area. The home team or game management may designate an area for the media in dead ball territory.


Rationale: Clarifies that game management may designate a media area in dead ball territory.

1-5-2a: The knob may be molded, lathed, welded or adjustable, but must be permanently fastened.


Rationale: Clarifies that an adjustable knob is permissible, provided the knob is permanently fastened by the manufacturer.


1-8-4: Defensive players are permitted to wear a shield on their face/head protection in the field but it must be constructed of a molded, rigid material that is clear and permits 100 percent (no tint) allowable light transmission.


Rationale: In an effort to promote risk minimization, tinted eye shields are prohibited for defensive face/head protection.

6-1-1 PENALTY, 6-1-2 Thru 4 PENALTY, 6-2-1 PENALTY, 6-2-7 PENALTY: in the case of an illegal pitch, the batter is awarded a ball. The penalty that permitted base runners to be awarded one base without liability to be put out is removed.


Rationale: The new language creates more balance between offense and defense. The batter should receive the award rather than runners already on base.

2-65-2: Clarifies there can be no appeal of the play that occurred prior to the umpire awarding an intentional walk.


6-1-2a, b: Clarifies what motion constitutes the start of the pitch and when the step back of the non-pivot foot may be taken.


APPENDIX H: An Appendix regarding DP/FLEX rules was added for quick reference.


2-65-2, 3-5-1 NOTE, 5-1 Table, 5-1-1k, 6-2-5, 7-1-2 PENALTY 3, 8-2-4 PENALTY, 8-4-3, 10-1-1

1. Simulating taking a sign 2. Sliding safety 3. Lineup card best practices
4. Illegal pitch penalties




Softball Rules Changes - 2018

By NFHS on February 8, 2018

2-65-2, 8-1-1c, 8-4-3a, 9-6-2: The coach, pitcher or catcher of the defensive team may request an intentional walk either before or during the pitch count. 


Rationale: This change to allow intentional walks was enacted to align fast pitch and slow pitch rules, to keep up with current trends of the sport, and also to maximize the flow of the game. 

3-2-7c: Language was added to address the use and placement of the wristband playbook/play card and defines this item as a piece of equipment. It also addresses restrictions on color. 


Rationale: The wristband playbook/playcards are worn on the forearm and considered equipment, not a garment.  Therefore, these items are not required to adhere to the color restrictions addressed in 3-2-7c. 

3-2-15, 10-2-3a:  This change removes the responsibility of the umpires to inspect equipment prior to the start of the game.  Rule 4-1-2d already requires head coaches to verify that their players are legally and properly equipped. 


Rationale: The responsibility to verify that players are legally equipped rests with the coach and administration of the school.  Rules 7-4-2 and 10-2-3l provide the authority to umpires to penalize for equipment violations.     


3-7-1 NOTE, 6-2-5 NOTE 2: Added language provides umpires with the authority to allow a reasonable number of warm-up pitches to an incoming pitcher due to circumstances that require a pitcher to be removed by rule. 


Rationale: Currently there are no guidelines for warming up the incoming pitcher under these circumstances. The default number of pitches used by the umpires is 5 unless there is inclement weather. The note will give guidance to all parties involved. 

6-1-2b: The pitcher may now step back with the non-pivot foot at any time prior to the start of the pitch. 


Rationale: This is a change to assist the developing pitcher. 

Major Editorial Changes

3-6-12, 10-1-6:  Language provides clarity and consistency for restriction of alcohol and tobacco use by participants and officials.

8-1-2:  This change requires the batter to make an attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball in the area between the plate and the batter’s box.  This portion of the rule had been inadvertently omitted.


2018 Points of Emphasis

1.    Coaches responsibility to verify players are legally equipped including all bats         and helmets used in the game. 
2.    Rules associated with when batter must attempt to avoid being hit by a pitch.
3.    Courtesy runner for the pitcher and/or catcher.

Softball Rules Changes - 2017

By NFHS on September 28, 2016 


1-5-2c: The taper is the transition area which connects the narrower handle to the wider barrel portion of the bat. The taper shall have a conical shape. Language requiring the taper to be of a solid surface has been removed.

Rationale: This change brings the NFHS in line with other rules codes concerning the surface of the taper.

3-2-1: While uniforms of team members shall be of the same color and style, state associations permit players to participate while wearing a different style uniform for various reasons, including inclement weather.

Rationale: There may be circumstances in which state associations make accommodations relative to inclement weather, religious exceptions, or other situations.

3-2-7: Exposed undergarments, if worn, are considered part of the official uniform. All exposed undergarments shall be a solid single color: black, white, gray or a school color.

a. For individual players, exposed upper-body undergarments do not have to be the same color as exposed lower-body undergarments.
b. For all team members, exposed upper-body undergarments shall be the same solid single color, and all exposed lower-body undergarments shall be the same solid single color.
c. Garments other than team uniforms such as arm sleeves, leg sleeves, and tights are permissible. Anything worn on the arm or leg is a sleeve, except a brace, and shall meet the color restrictions.

Rationale: Multi-color undergarments and sleeves are a distraction and create a possible safety concern. This rule establishes solid color requirements similar to other NFHS sport rules.

3-2-15 NEW: All equipment shall be inspected by the umpire, and is to be placed outside the dugout/bench prior to the start of the game.

Rationale: Placing all equipment in one location at one time is a more efficient method to conduct this inspection.

3-6-7 PENALTY: Players and substitutes shall not enter the contest unreported. The umpire shall issue a team warning to the coach of the team involved and the next offender on that team shall be restricted to the dugout/bench for the remainder of the game. The head coach is also restricted to the dugout/bench for the remainder of the game for a second violation.

Rationale: Language clarifies when the coach is restricted to the dugout/bench.


2017 Major Editorial Changes

6-2-2; 7-4-8 NOTE; 8-1-2; 8-2-4 EXCEPTION


2017 Points of Emphasis

  1. Pitching

  2. Uniforms

  3. DP/FLEX Simplified

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