Pushing runner while in possession of the ball

The following update was posted by NCAA on April 2, 2018.

Question: Play at the plate. Runner coming from third on a suicide squeeze. As the catcher reaches down for the ball she realizes she cannot make the tag in time. She picks up the ball in her bare hand, then shoves the runner with her glove to prevent her from touching the plate. The resulting collision forces both the catcher and the runner to the ground. It is now a scramble to get back to the plate.

Ruling: The rule support for this situation is rule 9.5.3.9 Fielder Obstruction – even with the catcher having possession of the ball. Although the rule says “push the runner off the base she possesses”, the spirit and intent of this rule would also apply in the situation described. This rule also refers to 9.5.5.2 if excessive force is used. Use the Effect listed for 9.5.3.7 to 9.5.3.10.

If, in your judgment, you deem this contact to be flagrant, you would apply 9.5.5.