Taking Substitutions from the Coach (Lost Mechanic)

Guidelines for taking Lineup changes

There are three very important steps in handling substitution requests from coaches:
• Interaction with the coach to accept the substitution
• Making the changes on the lineup cards
• Announcing the changes

Information on how to accurately record the changes on your lineup card is covered by the article on the SUP website: Players and Substitutes – Rule 8 (PowerPoint). In college, the changes must be reported to the opposing coach, official scorer, and the public-address announcer. Remember this acronym to help you through these steps and to understand when a substitute is officially in the game – RARA. The sub is not officially in the game until the substitution has been Reported, Accepted, Recorded, and Announced.

The proper steps for accepting the change from the coach have been removed from the CCA Manual. Here are the guidelines from previous CCA Manuals which had detailed instructions for how to take substitutions from the coach. You may also be interested in the “A Little History” section which follows these guidelines.


• Know where the scorekeeper is and the procedure for reporting changes
• Carry an extra pen
• Take your mask off, step away from the plate to meet with the coach to accept and record changes
• Do not put your pen in your mouth; do not put your mask between your knees
• Use a lineup holder like a clipboard; do not bend over and write the changes on your leg
• Record what is necessary when it happens even if this may slow the momentum of the game

Accepting changes

• Take out your lineup card while the coach is still near you.
• Confirm the name and number of the players who are entering and leaving.
• For defensive changes confirm the names, numbers, and new defensive position for each player.
• Repeat the names and numbers (and defensive positions if applicable) back to the coach.
• Take one change at a time and follow this procedure with each one.
• Finally, check that the player(s) who entered the game is wearing the same number as recorded
• Do not move behind the catcher until the lineup cards and pen are put away and your mask is on

Make sure you get this substitution from the coach:

Illegal changes

• Do not allow illegal changes.
• If a coach requests a change that you are not sure is legal, consult with your partners before allowing it.
• If a coach asks you, after being told the change is not legal, what he/she can do, tell the coach if you understand what the coach is trying to accomplish.

A Little History

Although the SUP website still has the Lineup Card Management system posted (it is now called Players and Substitutes), it covers only the mechanics of making the changes on a lineup card. The original 2006 NCAA Umpire Manual (the 3-ring binder) and its updates for 2007 had an entire section devoted to Lineup Card management (Section 6 – Lineup Card Management).

It included an excellent dissertation on the guidelines for handling the substitution process with the coach, as well as instructions and diagrams for making the actual changes. This instructions/diagrams part was a clever and creative way of dividing the lineup card into the
• Real World (the starters)
• The Underworld (subs)
• The Here and Now (entering the substitutions)
It also introduces the concept of “The Twins” for the DP and Flex.
(Thanks Emily Alexander!! Old-timers, do you remember?)

The CCA manuals 2008 through 2011, continued to have a separate section (Section 12 – Lineup Card Management) with both the guidelines and the instructions/diagrams. In the 2012 Manual, this section was removed and a new section (Section 4- Game Administration) was added, with some of the material moved into a sub-section (4.2 Lineup Card Management). This subsection was 1 ½ pages whereas the previous material took up 13 pages of the 2011 Manual. The “lineup card management system” (instructions/guidelines) was posted to the SUP website.

In 2013 the Lineup Card Management section was reduced to 2 paragraphs and remained that way for the 2014-2016 Manuals. The 2016 Manual removed the subsection Lineup Card Management and now the material is in the Game Management subsection of Section 3 -Game Administration.