BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 14, 2023)—–The Southeastern Conference will implement new initiatives and rules for the 2023 baseball season intended to reduce game times and elevate the fan experience. These changes apply to Conference vs. Conference games and the SEC Tournament.
The new rules include game clock initiatives for conference games. The game clock policies are a supplement to existing NCAA Playing Rules, which remain applicable.
Between Batters Clock: A 30-second timer between hitters shall start at the conclusion of the prior play as indicated by the umpire’s final signal of “safe” or “out”, or other clear indication that the prior play has concluded. Consistent with NCAA pitch clock protocols, the batter shall be alert to the pitcher with 10 seconds or more remaining and the pitcher shall begin the motion to deliver the first pitch of the at-bat prior to the expiration of the 30-second clock.
Mound Visit Clock: A 30-second timer on a mound visit shall begin when a coach exits the dugout or when a defensive player leaves their position to visit the pitcher’s mound. Unless the coach signals for a pitching change, the coach must leave the mound when (or before) the timer expires. The mound visit clock shall not operate when a doctor or trainer accompanies a coach to evaluate a medical issue. Upon expiration of the 30-second clock, the 20-second NCAA pitch clock shall commence.
Pitching Change Clock: A 2:30 (2 minutes and 30 seconds) timer on a pitching change shall begin when a new pitcher who is entering the game, either at the start of an inning or as part of a mid-inning pitching change, crosses the warning track (or otherwise leaves the bullpen area if the bullpen is on the playing field). Upon expiration of the clock, the NCAA 20-second pitch clock shall commence.
The SEC will also implement a 10-run rule for conference games. The policy stipulates that a contest shall be stopped after seven innings if one team is ahead by at least 10 runs, in accordance with NCAA playing rules. The 10-run rule shall also be utilized for all non-conference competition with the consent of the coach of the non-conference opponent. If the coach of the non-conference opponent does not consent, the game shall be played in its entirety consistent with NCAA playing rules.
The SEC has also revised the inclement weather policy related to the final game of a conference series on Sunday when the visiting team does not have classes on the following day (Monday). The policy specifies if the visiting team’s institution does not have classes the following day (Monday), general curfew policies shall be waived. If the curfew is waived, no game may start after 10 p.m. local time or resume after midnight local time.