The 2024-2025 rule book did not make any changes to the protest protocol for regular season games. However, it did include significant changes to 7.2.6, 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 (NCAA qualifiers and championship play protest procedures). Nothing is listed about this in the pages for Major Rule Changes or Significant Editorial Change. The following covers only the regular season protocols. See 7.2.6 for championship play.
Protest – attempt at resolution
The sequence for resolving a potential protest is:
1. The protesting coach must identify the rule, either by content or rule number, which he/she believes was misapplied the incorrect rule of effect that was applied. This must be done before the next pitch. We should not expect the coach to give us a specific rule number. For example, if the protest involves the pitcher not taking the signal correctly, the coach does not have to state that he/she is protesting rule 10.2.2; it would suffice for the coach to state that the rule application he/she is protesting is the rule for the pitcher taking the signal.
2. The opposing coach is given an opportunity to provide input on the issue.
3. The crew privately attempts to resolve the issue using the rule book to arrive at a decision
4. The crew brings the coaches together to explain the ruling with one final opportunity to use a rules book to determine the on-field resolution.
5. If the resolution of the above meeting is unsatisfactory, the protesting coach has the right to continue the game under protest.
Continuing the Game Under Protest
If the resolution of the above meeting is unsatisfactory, the protesting coach has the right to continue the game under protest and submit a protest using the electronic Protest Form to the NCAA softball secretary-rules editor.
5. The plate umpire must announce this to the opposing coach and the scorekeepers, and ask the public address announcer to announce the game will be resumed under protest.
6. The plate umpire and the protesting coach must note and record the relevant information which must be included in the Protest Form to be submitted within 24 hours of the conclusion of the game. See rule 220.127.116.11.2.
Forfeits are a very last resort and should not be declared unless all game umpires concur. There shall be no forfeit of a game until both participating teams are present and the umpires have assumed jurisdiction of the game.
See the Forfeited Game rule in the Rule Book (Rule 6) for the conditions under which a forfeit might be issued to the offending team. The plate umpire is responsible for submitting the electronic Incident Report within 24 hours after the game.