The lineup card requirements are explained in rule 5.7 of the NCAA Softball Rules Book (2020-2021). It must list all eligible players and the starting offensive players in the order in which they are to bat (batting order). The lineup card becomes official when it is reviewed and accepted by the plate umpire at the pregame meeting. Once it is made official any subsequent changes are subject to the rules of substitution, entries and reentries.
The process the plate umpire should use is:
• Ask each team for their lineups
• Review the lineup card for the required information (see below)
• Hand the lineup card back to the coach and state “once you give it back to me, the lineup is official.”
Required information – the following information must be on the lineup card:
• First and last names (no nicknames – see below), uniform numbers and positions of the starting players.
• First and last names and uniform numbers of all eligible substitutes.
• First and last name of the head coach; if a team has co-head coaches, one shall be designated as the head coach for the game.
• Players not listed on the official lineup card are not eligible to play the game. Make sure everybody who will play in the game that day is listed as either a starter or substitute. Nobody can be added after the lineup is official.
• All players listed in the starting lineup must be in uniform, in the dugout area and available to play at the start of the game. One exception – starting pitcher and catcher may be in the bullpen.
• If a team is using a pre-printed “roster” with all players listed on the lineup card, first names may be omitted from the written lineup card as long as they are printed on the card’s roster; multiple players with the same last name must have a first name or distinguishing first name initial.
• No nicknames are allowed; monikers are to some extent (see below)
• A missing first name on the lineup is subject to the Inaccurate Lineup Card rule (8.3.2).
• A missing last name makes a player ineligible and subject to the Illegal Player rule (8.3.4)
Nicknames and Monikers
There is an Approved Ruling which clarifies what monikers may be used for special situations. If a player prefers to go by her initials instead of her given name (e.g. “J.C.” instead of Jacquelyn), the lineup card may be written as J.C. for the first name. This does not extend to allowing nonspecific nicknames as first names, such as “Speedy” Smith of “Lefty” Jones. If a coach wants those monikers, then the player would need to be listed as J.C. “Speedy” Smith.