Lightning and Weather Delays

Take a few minutes to visit with school site administrators regarding lightning and weather delays.  We have had several issues regarding how the decision to delay is made.  PRIOR to the start of any game, the host school administration is responsible for monitoring weather.  Once the game is in progress, the umpires are responsible for delaying due to thunder and/or lightning.  If thunder is heard or sky to ground lightning is observed, CLEAR THE FIELD and follow your school' s inclement weather plan for teams, fans and workers.  A 30-minute delay is mandatory after each lightning strike.  During this delay, take time to gather more information via websites and the National Weather Service.  Software is available that helps indicate the distance of the lightning strike and movement of the storm.

Ideally, coaches should not serve as the site administrator.  Umpires also appreciate help from site administrators on incoming weather, advance notices, etc.  It is not always possible to hear distant thunder in the middle of a game. 

 Here is the link to hazardous weather guidelines and lightning guidelines.

Field Markings
Please be advised of the proper field markings, including the media box, the on deck circle and the batter’s box distance to home plate.

A media box is required to be lined in foul territory down the third base line for all regional contests. An additional media box down the first base line is recommended. The minimum dimensions of these boxes shall be 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep. Only official media photographers/videographers may occupy the media boxes.

The on deck circle must be in a safe location to the side and away from home, or 30' if space allows.  It should measure 5'.  See figure 1-1 on page 8 of the NFHS Rules Book.

Batters boxes of various sizes have been reported by our umpires.  Please refer to the diagram in figure 1-1 in the NFHS Rule Book.  If the umpire requests to have the boxes re-drawn because they are incorrect, please advise your field crews to comply with the umpire's instruction.

Coaching Attire
Coaches are reminded to dress appropriately and professionally during games.  Rule 3-5-3 states:

Any time a coach is in live-ball area to confer with players or an umpire, or occupy a coach's box, the coach shall be attired in school uniform or jersey/coaching shirt with coaching shorts/slacks or warm up suits (including fleece warm-ups) in school colors or colors of khaki, black, white or gray.  Cut-offs or any type of jeans are prohibited.  Jackets are not considered part of the coach's uniforms.

Halter tops, tank tops, running shirts are NOT considered part of the coach's uniforms. 

This also applies to players serving as coaches in the coaching box.  And yes, players serving as a coach in the coaching box must also wear shoes and a helmet.

Chin Straps
Iowa adaptations for chin straps on helmets is as follows:

CHINSTRAPS - Chinstraps are required on all batting helmets and must be snapped and worn properly. The strap must be tightened so it is touching the chin and not hanging.

QuikStats Scores
A new feature this year of QuikStats is immediate score reporting once the score is entered into QuikStats.  Coaches can enter the final score only without having to input statistics.  That score is then sent out via IGHSAU social media.  It's an easy way to have your scores reported statewide!

Easton Ghost Bat
We continue to see ejections of coaches and players for use of the new Easton Ghost bat which is illegal per NFHS rules.  Coaches are responsible for checking equipment in the dugout prior to each game.  Please share this information with all of your softball coaches at all levels. Umpires are being instructed to enforce the ejection of both head coach and the player.  Second offenses involve multi-date suspension and school sanctioning.

Post-Season Brackets
Regional assignments for all classes will be released the week of June 24.  The IGHSAU reserves the right to schedule doubleheaders for regional contests in the first two rounds.  Our overall registration numbers have increased this year for softball umpires; however, the number of post-season eligible umpires has decreased and we may need to schedule four teams at one site.  Host sites with doubleheader schedules will have the ability to set game times as either 5/7 p.m. or 6/7:30 p.m.

Schools who wish to host should make sure their hosting information on the IGHSAU website is up to date, including location of the softball field and whether or not lights are available.