WELCOME TO THE SPRING GAMES!
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We appreciate you being part of the World’s largest college softball event. With over 2,000 college softball games between mid-February and the end of March, we know just how important it is to make sure that we – and you – are familiar with what is going on at each complex. These games COUNT and we appreciate you being part of making the start of the teams’ season the best it can be! In order to support you and our teams, we wanted to pass on some information to you that will assist you in knowing what is going on here at the Games and the parks.
THE Spring Games is the World’s largest college softball event. Founded in 2008 by Olympian and Doctor Dot Richardson (USA 1979-2000), it has been operated and managed by a closely-held softball family from the beginning. We are very proud of our history and connection to Central Florida and we hope you are as excited as we are to be part of this event!
PFX Athletics is proud to offer an Umpire Academy as of 2018 and will work in connection with THE Spring Games to ensure that umpires across all Divisions of college softball receive information, training, and feedback through this event. Bob Borak will be the primary assigner to THE Spring Games. Division I umpires may also receive assignments from Richie Ryals, the Umpire Coordinator for the Division I facilities in Madeira Beach and Sanford. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Mr. Borak at:
If you have any questions while at the event, each complex will have a Site Supervisor and/or Umpire Coordinator that you may go to for any issues that may arise. Please refer to www.THESpringGames.com for information on facility coordinators at the event; this information will be listed under the “Umpire” tab in the top right of the website.
Please make sure you are logged in to your Arbiter account to monitor games and any changes that may arise during THE Spring Games. If you are making changed with fellow umpires you need to make sure that your assignor is made aware of the change.
You will be issued credentials that you will need to carry with you at all times (even when you are in uniform). The credentials are wallet-sized and can be held in your pocket.
All Division I games will be assigned on the three-man system. Umpires working Division I games are required to be proficient in the three-man system.
All other games will be assigned on the two-man system. Umpires working Division II, Division III, NAIA, and JUCO games are required to be proficient in the three-many system. JV games will be assigned with a trainer/trainee match to encourage the development of future umpires in our sport. From time to time, non-Division I games may be offered a third-man. Coaches are not paying extra to have three umpires on a field and if you are offered this opportunity, it is because the leadership at THE Spring Games believes that either your experience, the fan experience, or the team-match justifies the additional expense of adding a third umpire to the game. Some of these opportunities are paid, others are not (or are reduced fee). These games are a great opportunity for less experienced umpires to work some three-man games to prepare for the upcoming conference season. Please let Mr. Borak know if you are interested in working a three-man crew game.
IMPORTANT RULES TO REMEMBER:
Time management is an important piece of THE Spring Games day-to-day activities. In order to keep the event on track, we ask that you pay close attention to some rules specific to THE Spring Games. If you have any questions about these rules, please speak with Mr. Borak or the Umpire Coordinator responsible for your complex.
Umpires at THE Spring Games are expected to be familiar with the rules governing the Division of the game they are umpiring. We understand these are some of the first games of the season and, like many of our teams, this might be your first time on dirt for a while. That said, diligent study and preparation should help you be mentally prepared for the games. You can see your game assignments in Arbiter so please be sure to give a good look-over to your Divisional assignment rule book at least 48 hours prior to your game to refresh your memory.
On a related note, here is a link to the NCAA Rule Changes.
For THE Spring Games, here are some of the common rule-based questions we hear:
Tie Breaker: Tie Breaker will be in the 8th.
Time Limits: There are no time limits at THE Spring Games; these are regular-season games and will be played until there is a winner under the Divisional Regulations. The only exception to this policy is for Junior Varsity (Non-Varsity); if you have two (2) JV teams playing each other, the time limit is 01:45:00 hours (finish the inning).
Media and Live Stream: There will be media boxes marked on the game fields. Only official team photographers are permitted to be on the fields (no spectators or parents); team photographers will have paper credentials. THE Spring Games are being live streamed through Flo Softball. Fans can get more information about the live stream on our website at www.THESpringGames.com. If a camera for the live streaming gets hit and needs to be adjusted, you will be notified by either the Site Supervisor, Umpire Coordinator, or personnel from Suffragette Softball. In that instance, please pause the game between innings for no more than three (3) minutes for the video crew to make adjustments to the camera.
Bat Checks: Bat testing is not mandatory for participation in THE Spring Games; however, the NCAA has a representative on site to do bat testing on certain dates and we do encourage teams to make an appointment with the official bat tester for the NCAA to make sure their bats are compliant with the current rules and regulations. Whether the bats have been tested, it is your responsibility to make sure you check bats against the current NCAA bat list each game. The field umpire should initial and date the bat list once bat checks are complete. Each team may use one bat list for the day; bat lists may not be used for more than one day. If the NCAA issues a new list during the event, teams playing the first two rounds of games the day after the new list is issued may still use the prior day’s list.
Media Format: THE Spring Games uses the Media Format which was new for 2018 in the NCAA Rule Book. Teams will have 90 seconds (1 ½ minutes) between each half inning; umpires are expected to issue a “60 second,” “30 second,” and “10 second” verbal warning before calling balls against the field team. Coaches will get seven (7) total conferences (defensive & offensive) per game and no more than one (1) conference per half inning. If a game goes into extra innings then each team is allowed one (1) conference per half inning and unused conferences cannot be carried over.
Game and Fan Management: There are many people at THE Spring Games on vacation; most are fans, some are umpires, none are teams or coaches. We ask that at all times that you conduct yourself in a professional manner. Keep in mind that the fan experience at THE Spring Games is unique since these games are neutral sites. Also remember that fans are here from across the nation and that different regions have different customs and manners of communication. As the umpire, the field is yours to manage, which means that you are welcome to manage the fans as you see appropriate. Our recommendation is to notify the coach of the team with the unruly fan of the issue and give the coach the opportunity to address it. If there is an issue with a fan that requires security, please notify the Umpire Coordinator or Site Supervisor and she or he will take appropriate action.
Protests: Protests will be managed consistent with the NCAA Rules. THE Spring Games staff will not be involved or manage a game protest.
UMPIRE REST AND CHANGING AREAS:
Refreshments (drinks and snacks) are provided complimentary to you in each umpire area. Please refer to your assignor’s instructions for details on the umpire room location at each facility.