Playing Rules

Updated September 1, 2023
General Rules

Florida State University does not provide accident insurance coverage for injuries received by Intramural Sports participants. Each participant should make sure that they have coverage either through family policies or the student insurance plan.

Florida State University PROHIBITS possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on University property. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is also prohibited at Campus Recreation facilities. This includes the Rec SportsPlex, Main Campus Fields, Westside Courts, and Tully Gym. Violators will be asked to leave the area. Failure to do so can result in forfeiture of the contest, suspension of individuals and/or teams, and appropriate action by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and/or the FSU Police.

Sport Rules

Current Amateur Softball Association (ASA) rules will govern play with the following modifications:

I. GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

1. Participation is limited to currently-enrolled, fee-paying FSU students, faculty members, and full-time staff. FAMU & TCC students and members of the community are not eligible.

2. In order to participate in an intramural contest, each player must present his/her current, valid FSUCard or the IM Leagues app. Check-in takes place at designated sign-in locations at the facility, not at the fields or courtside.

3. Additional information regarding player eligibility, team rosters, and participant check-in is available in the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Intramural Sports web site and in the Intramural Sports Office in 1035 Tully Gym. Requests for exceptions to any policy must be directed to the IM administrative staff during regular weekday business hours in the Intramural Sports Office. No exceptions are granted at the fields or courts.

II. TEAM COMPOSITION

1. Players can compete on one men’s or women’s team, regardless of league classification, and play for one co-rec team as well.

2. A men’s, women’s, fraternity, and sorority team’s line-up may have up to 10 players. 9 players will play in the field with the 10th player in the line-up serving as the extra hitter (EH). The extra hitter may take a position in the field, but must remain in the same spot in the batting order.

3. A team must have 7 players to start a game. Players who arrive late must be added to the bottom of the line-up. 5 or 6 players present at game time results in a default. 4 or less results in a forfeit. Each team must have players in the pitcher/catcher positions each inning.

4. A team’s roster may include an unlimited number of players.

5. A team must finish a game with 7 players, except in the event of an injury. If a team starts a game with more than 7 players and players have to leave with no available substitutes, play will continue as long as 7 legal players are available to play. When a player leaves a game early for any reason (injury, disqualification, ejection) and no substitutes are available, an out will be recorded when that player is scheduled to bat.

6. Limited free substitution is permitted in order to encourage maximum participation. Limited substitution is available to all players in the line-up. Once a substitute has entered the line-up, they must play for 6 consecutive outs (a full inning). Once a player has been replaced in the batting order, they may bat again only if they return to the position in the order which they vacated. This rule allows for re-entry of both the starter and any subsequent substitutes. In the event of an injury, disqualification, or ejection, a substitute may enter the game prior to the 6-out period. The sub, or the team captain, should inform the umpire prior to putting their name into the appropriate slot on the game sheet.

III. EQUIPMENT & DUGOUTS

1. All participants who are not an active field player (defense), offensive batter, runner, on-deck batter, or base coach) shall remain in the dugout or in the spectator area behind the metallic fencing.

2. All offensive team members outside of the dugout – at bat, on the base paths, in the on-deck circle, or acting as a base coach — must wear a batting helmet. Helmets are available at each field.

3. All players must wear shoes. Tennis shoes, soft-soled shoes, and one piece softball shoes are legal. Metal spikes or cleats with metal exposed are not allowed. Any player caught wearing metal spikes will be suspended from the game until they change shoes.

4. Participants are encouraged to wear personal safety equipment. Protective face guards for catchers are available for checkout at the Rec SportsPlex West Field House. Participants may provide their own equipment. Or, a team may request a reschedule if such safety equipment is not available at the facility for a scheduled contest.

5. Other softball equipment such as bats, gloves, and softballs is also available for checkout at the Rec SportsPlex West Field House. An FSUCard or the IM Leagues app is required to checkout any equipment.

6. Helmet and bats may not be thrown, spiked, or kicked with poor sporting behavior. Such actions can result in player ejection. Note this is different from a light toss of a bat or helmet at the conclusion of an inning.

7. Bat rules do not vary by division of play. Any league may supply their own bat if it is stamped with one of the ASA certifying marks (this includes USSA and ISA). If a team does not supply their own bat, FSU Intramural Sports will provide a softball bat for use.

8. Use of an illegal bat results in penalties to the offending player and team.
A) Upon the first discovery of use of an illegal bat by a batter, the batter shall be ruled out. In addition, all runs scored by the batter’s team in the game, up to the point of discovery, shall be vacated. The mercy rule will apply to the new score, as appropriate, or game play will continue. No ejections shall result.
B) Any subsequent use of an illegal bat by the same team in the same game shall result in an immediate forfeiture of the game to the opposing team.
C) A bat is deemed used by a batter following the first legal or illegal pitch to that batter. Discovery must be made prior to the next legal or illegal pitch to the succeeding batter or prior to the recording of the third out of the inning, whichever is first. A bat initially ruled legal by umpires but later ruled illegal by other staff shall be removed from use, however the vacation of runs will not apply. No out will be recorded and game play will continue under an equipment protest which will be reviewed and ruled upon by the IM administrative staff.

9. All men’s, fraternity, and co-rec games shall utilize a 12″ size softball. Women’s and sorority games will use an 11″ size softball. FSU Intramural Sports will supply softballs of .40 COR rating which shall be used during play. In the event that FSU softballs are unavailable, .40 COR, then .44 COR rated softballs are preferred for intramural play.

10. Any player may use any type of legal glove no matter the position of play.

11. Players with dangerous or unsafe uniforms or equipment may be prohibited from participating by Intramural Sports staff until such uniform or equipment is changed or removed.

12. Wrist and hand jewelry is NOT allowed to be worn by any participant during intramural softball. This jewelry consists of any visible rings (including wedding bands), watches, bracelets, and any other similar jewelry. Medic alert bracelets must be taped to the body or secured under clothing such as a wristband or sock to be worn during play. Exposed jewelry which is deemed dangerous by the umpire or other IM staff must be removed and may not be worn for the remainder of the game. A player is subject to ejection for failure to remove any jewelry after the first warning.

IV. GROUND RULES

1. Any balls hit over the fence in fair territory are home runs.

2. All trees whose branches hang over the fence are in play. If the ball strikes any part of the tree, it remains in play and may be caught for an out.

3. Balls that touch or come to rest on the concrete area of any dugout or those that are blocked by equipment in the on-deck area are considered out-of-play.

4. When mesh outfield fences are in use, balls that bounce over or roll under these fences in fair territory shall result in a ground-rule double for the batter. Balls hit over the mesh fences shall be considered home runs.

5. (Home Run Limits) When mesh outfield fences are in use, over-the-fence home run limits will be in effect. For men’s competitive and fraternity leagues, each team may hit up to 6 home runs per game. For men’s recreational and co-rec competitive leagues, each team may hit up to 4 home runs per game. For co-rec recreational leagues, the limit is 2 home runs per game. There is no limit on homeruns in women’s and sorority league play.
A) Any fly ball touched by a defensive player which then goes over the fence in fair territory shall be declared a four-base award and shall not count towards a team’s home run total. Inside-the-park home runs do not count towards a team’s home run total.
B) Once the limit is reached, any batter who hits an over-the-fence home run shall be called out. The ball is considered dead and no runners may advance on the play.

6. When mesh outfield fences are not in use, balls that roll under or bounce over any metallic chain-link fence in fair territory shall result in a ground-rule double for the batter. There are no home run limits when mesh outfield fences are not in use.

7. Teams shall remain clear of the fields while games are in progress. Warming up can occur only in the designated areas.

V. GAME TIME & LENGTH

1. Game time is forfeit time. A team needs at least 7 legal players to begin the game. If the forfeiting team wishes to remain in the league, the team captain must come into the Intramural Sports Office by noon on the next working day to present their case.

2. Each game has a 50-minute or 7-inning limit. Any inning started before the end of the 50-minute time period will be completed. No innings will begin after 50 minutes.

3. Regular season games can end in a tie. Extra innings will be played only if they start before the 50-minute time limit. All playoff games will continue until a winner is determined.

4. (10-Run Rule) If one team is ahead by 10 runs after 4 complete innings (3 1/2, if the home team is ahead) the game will be called.

VI. INCLEMENT WEATHER

1. The FSU IM Sports Office reserves the right to postpone or reschedule a contest if circumstances warrant such action. Regular season games cancelled by rain are generally not rescheduled. Contests postponed due to other reasons may or may not be rescheduled at the discretion of the Intramural Sports staff.

2. In the case of inclement weather, the Intramural Sports staff will not make a decision regarding the playing of games until after 5:00 pm. For information on cancellations, visit @FSUIMRainLine on Twitter or the FSU Intramural Sports Instagram.
A. If inclement weather occurs after the closing of the Intramural office, decisions regarding the continuing of the games will be made on the field by the IM supervisors. If you have a question regarding whether a game will be played, visit @FSUIMRainLine on Twitter or the FSU Intramural Sports Instagram.
B. When games are canceled due to weather, the fields will not be available for practice to ensure the safety of participants and to avoid costly damage to the fields.

3. A game stopped because of inclement weather is a regulation game if four or more innings (3 1/2 if the home team is ahead) have been played. In the event that a game is stopped in the middle of an inning, the official score will revert the score at the end of the last complete inning.

VII. PITCHING

1. Prior to pitching, the pitcher shall come to a full and complete stop with both feet firmly on the ground and with one or both feet in contact with the pitching rubber. The ball must be held in the pitching hand or with both hands in front of the body. This position must be maintained for at least 1 second and not more than 10 seconds.

2. In the act of delivering the ball to the batter, the pivot foot must remain in contact with the pitcher’s rubber until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.

3. A legal delivery shall be a ball that is delivered underhand and a slow to moderate speed. The ball must reach a height of at least 6 feet and no more than 12 feet at the top of its arc.

4. Any pitch that fails to reach an arc of six feet, exceeds the 12 foot limit, or is thrown with excessive speed in the opinion of the home plate umpire, will be declared an illegal pitch. This will count as a “ball” unless the batter chooses to swing, in which case the ball is live. Once an illegal pitch is swung at, all action following the swing will be legal (a strike, out, hit, etc.) and the “illegal pitch” will be disregarded.

5. Definition of a strike is “a legally delivered ball passing completely over home plate before touching the ground. The ball must not be lower than the batter’s knees nor higher than the batter’s back shoulder while passing over any portion of home plate”.

6. The pitcher has 20 seconds between pitches. If they exceed this time, an automatic ball is called.

7. A ball that slips from a pitcher’s hand during their back swing, the ball will be dead and a “no pitch” will be declared. If intentional, a ball will be called.

VIII. BATTING

1. Each batter will begin each at-bat with a count of 1 ball and 1 strike.

2. There is no foul ball limit for batters.

3. The batter has 10 seconds to enter the batter’s box. If they exceed this time, an automatic strike is called.

4. There is no bunting. The batter must take a full swing at the ball. A batter who bunts or chops the ball (fair or foul) is out. A bunted ball that strikes the ground is immediately dead and runners must return to their original base. Bunted balls that are pop-ups may be caught and any runners may by doubled off (put out); runners, however, may not tag up and advance. Bunt pop-ups not caught still result in an out and an immediate dead ball.

5. If a player unintentionally throws their bat, the team will be given a warning. Each subsequent offense will result in the batter being called out and all runners returning to the base they occupied at the beginning of the at-bat. Any player who intentionally throws their bat will be called out and ejected from the game.

IX. RUNNING

1. No stealing is allowed. Baserunners may leave the base when the pitch is hit. If a runner is off base before the pitch reaches the plate, the runner is called out and a “no pitch” is declared.

2. The base path for a runner is the direct line between the player and the base to which they are advancing at the time a play is being made on that specific base runner and the three feet to either side of that direct path. Note: this path may be different from the straight line connecting two bases. For example, a player who has run past 1st base a distance of about 10 feet decides to run for second. Their base path for any tag plays is the direct line from where they made their turn towards 2nd base (10 feet down the line from 1st) and 2nd base. This is different from the direct line from 1st to 2nd base. For plays between home plate and 1st base, the runner shall run in the 3-foot lane of the foul side of the foul line.

3. A player who runs outside their base path (including the 3-foot lanes on either side) in an attempt to avoid a tag shall be declared out.

4. A fielder has absolute right to any position on the field to field a ball and all runners must avoid a fielder in these cases. When a fielder not in possession of the ball or not in the act of fielding a batted ball impedes the progress of a runner, obstruction will be ruled. This is a delayed dead ball; play continues as normal. Once the play has ended, the umpire shall award the runner and each other runner affected by the obstruction the bases they would have, in the umpire’s opinion, reached had there been no obstruction.

5. On tag plays, the fielder must be in possession of the ball before attempting to block a base or home plate. Blocking a base without the ball at any base or home plate is considered obstruction. It is also obstruction when a fielder without the ball fakes a tag. For a fake tag, bases are awarded as a normal obstruction.

6. Any runner in fair territory and not in contact with a base that is struck by a fair batted ball is out except when (a) the ball has passed an infielder and in the judgement of the umpire, no other fielder had a chance to make an out, (b) when a runner is hit with a fair batted ball over foul territory and no other fielder had a chance to make an out, or (c) when a runner is touched with a fair batted ball after it is touched by any fielder, including the pitcher. In the event of one of these 3 exceptions, all runners must return to their previously occupied base and the batter-runner is awarded first base. If the award of first to the batter-runner causes another runner to be forced, that runner will advance to the next base.

7. In case of a possible double play, the baserunner must slide into the base or get out of the way of the thrown ball. Baserunners who fail to get out of the way may be charged with interference resulting in both the baserunner and the batter-runner being called out on the play.

8. When a defensive player has the ball and is waiting for the runner, and the runner remains on their feet and deliberately, with great force, crashes into the defensive player, the runner is declared out. The ball will be declared dead and all runners must return to the last base they legally occupied. If the act is to be judged flagrant by the umpire, the offending player will be declared out and ejected from the game and the runner closest to home will also be called out.

9. Overthrows that land out of play will result in the following awards:
A) On an initial overthrow by an infielder, the award is 2 bases from the time of the throw; i.e., batter gets second base, any baserunners are awarded 2 bases from where they were at the time of the throw.
B) On an overthrow by the outfielder, the award is 2 bases from the time the fielder releases the ball, not when it goes out of play; i.e., if a player is one step away from second when the outfielder released the ball, the runner is awarded second and third.

10. When a fielder carries the ball over an out-of-play line, the play becomes dead and the baserunners are awarded one base (if unintentional) or two bases (if intentional) from the time the fielder carried the ball out of play.

11. All base awards are based on the position of the lead runner. For example, if two players are between 1st and 2nd at the time of an overthrow which lands out of play, the first runner will be awarded 2nd and 3rd (two bases) and the second runner will receive 2nd base only.

12. A courtesy runner may be used in the event of injury only AND upon agreement with the opposing team’s captain. In co-rec games, the courtesy runner must be a player of the same gender.

13. The ball remains alive until the pitcher has possession of the ball in the infield and all immediate play has apparently completed. Runners not advancing return to the last base legally touched. Umpires have the authority to grant timeout when the ball is in possession of another fielder and all immediate play has apparently ended.

14. Sliding feet first is permitted in all leagues. Any participant who slides headfirst will be declared out by the umpire.

X. INFIELD FLY RULE

1. An “infield fly” occurs with all of the following conditions:
A) A fair fly ball (not including a line drive) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort.
B) There are 0 or 1 out in the inning.
C) There are runners on 1st and 2nd OR runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

2. When all three conditions are met, the umpire will declare an “infield fly” and rule the batter out immediately, whether or not the fly ball is caught. Baserunners may tag up if the fly ball is caught. Baserunners may advance if the fly ball is dropped, but are not required to run and may not be forced out at the next base.

XI. APPEAL PLAYS

1. An appeal play is one in which an umpire cannot make a decision until requested by a member of the defensive team. Appeals must be made prior to the next legal or illegal pitch or before the defensive team has left the field.

2. Once the ball has been returned to the infield and time has been called, any infielder (including the pitcher or catcher), with or without possession of the ball, may make a verbal appeal. The plate umpire should acknowledge the appeal, and the administering umpire should then make a decision on the play. Baserunners cannot leave their base during this period, as the ball remains dead until the next pitch.

XII. OTHER RULES

1. There will be a coin-toss prior to each game to determine the home team.

2. A player who is bleeding cannot participate until the bleeding is stopped, or if excessive amounts of blood occur, their uniform is changed.
A) If the player accomplishes this task within a reasonable time (to be determined by the umpire), the player may remain in the game.
B) If the situation is not handled in a reasonable amount of time, the player must leave the game and be replaced. The player is then subject to the re-entry rule. If no substitutes are available, play will continue without the player. The player, then, may re-enter the game when they are deemed legal for participation.

XIII. CO-REC RULE MODIFICATIONS

1. A co-rec line-up consists of 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. 10 players play in the field with 2 extra hitters (EH), which must consist of one male and one female. Teams must have 8 players to begin a game. The following combinations are the only acceptable combinations: 4M / 4F, 4M / 5F, 5M / 4F, 5M / 5F, 5M / 6F, 6M / 5F, 6M / 6F (beware the spot of a 10th or 12th batter being declared an out if an uneven number of one gender because 2M or 2F cannot bat back to back).

2. In the event that a team has 9 or 11 players, that team may select to use all 9 or 11 players and take an out in the 10th or 12th position in the batting order. Then, all 9 players will be permitted to play defense. OR, the team may play with 8 players in the line-up & 1 substitute. No outs will be assessed in the batting order, but only those 8 players may play in the field.

3. The batting order shall alternate male and female batters.

4. If a male batter is walked (no matter the number of outs), he will be awarded 1st base and the next female has the option of batting or taking a walk. If a female walks at any time in the game, she will be awarded 1st base only.

5. Co-Rec defensive positioning shall include a maximum of 5 players in the outfield and 5 players in the infield (not including the pitcher/catcher). Male and females may be distributed in any way they choose in the field of play.

XIV. 3-PITCH RULE MODIFICATIONS

1. Teams pitch to their own batters. Pitchers must be a team member (signed in for the game). Pitchers do not have to be one of the batters in the line-up. A maximum of 2 pitching changes are permitted per inning per line-up cycle (when batting around, the number of pitching changes resets to 0).

2. Pitchers receive a maximum of 5 warm-up pitches prior to each inning. Pitchers shall wait until the fielding team is ready before delivering the pitch.

3. Offensive pitchers do not play defense and must move out of the way of all defensive plays. Pitchers hit by a batted ball result in the batter being called out and all runners returning to their bases.

4. Defensive positioning shall include a maximum of 3 players in the outfield and a maximum of 5 players (including the catcher) in the infield. All teams must supply a catcher as one of the infielders.

5. Each batter shall receive a maximum of 3 pitches. There are no walks and no strikeouts. Batters are out if they do not put the ball into play after 3 pitches. There is no bunting. Batters must take a full swing at a pitch.

6. An illegal pitch may not be hit by the batter. The ball shall be ruled immediately dead and all runners must return to their bases. An illegal pitch counts as 1 of the 3 pitches to that batter.

XV. FAST PITCH RULE MODIFICATIONS

1. Pitching: Prior to starting the delivery, the pitcher shall take a position with the pivot foot in contact with the rubber and with the non-pivot foot on the ground next to or behind the rubber. The pitch must be delivered underhand at moderate/fast speed and the ball may advance at any height below 10 feet.

2. Equipment: Catcher’s equipment must be worn at all times in the field of play by the catcher.

3. Batting
A) Bunting/Slapping is allowed if the batter does not leave the box while contacting the ball.
B) Any batter hit by a pitch will be awarded first base.

XVI. SPORTING BEHAVIOR

1. The mission of Intramural Sports is to provide a recreational environment for the University community which is safe and enjoyable. While the game atmosphere is often competitive, ensuring participant safety, providing a fun, social atmosphere, and promoting sporting behavior among participants, spectators, and team followers are our primary concerns. The game atmosphere should remain good-natured at all times. Participants shall maintain good sporting behavior throughout their participation in all facets of the intramural program.

2. The Sporting Behavior Rating System is intended to be an objective scale by which teams’ attitude and behavior can be assessed throughout the intramural sports league and playoff seasons. Behavior before, during, and after an intramural sports contest is included in the rating. The team captain is responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators affiliated with his/her team about the system.

3. A team is responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators related to it. Additionally, FSU Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain shall speak to the officials regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc). Furthermore, the team captain’s efforts in assisting officials/staff to calm difficult situations and to restrain troubled teammates are key to controlling team conduct.

4. Sporting behavior is vital to the conduct of every Intramural contest. In order to encourage proper conduct during games, officials, administrative personnel, and supervisors shall make decisions on whether to warn, penalize or eject players or teams for poor behavior. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of unsporting conduct.

5. Each participant should choose his or her team members carefully, as all team members will suffer the consequences of any disciplinary action taken by the Intramural Sports staff against that team for violation of the intramural rules and sporting behavior guidelines. Protests or appeals of sporting behavior ratings will not be recognized. The Intramural Sports administrative staff reserves the right to review any rating given to a team.

6. Additional information regarding team and participant sporting behavior including the rating method, factors, and scale is available in the Sporting Behavior Principle of the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Campus Recreation web site.