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Botched Ump penalty imposed

May 30, 2013
1,202
38
Binghamton, NY
had a HS game last week.

VERY competitive game between 2 of the top-4 teams in our Section.
a 1-1 game up to the 4th inning. where Team A went up 3-1.

5th inning, Team A generates another rally.
Base loaded, 0 outs.
Player 05 in the next Batter, and approaches the plate.
Team B Coach calls time.
Assistant coach makes a visit to the circle and calls the infield in.
Head coach has a quick conference with the HP Umpire.
Player 05 gets ejected from the game for violating the "Jewelry Rule" (she has a small stud nose ring, in place).

An extended break in the action occurs while the Umpire's penalty is discussed with both head coaches.

Team B head coach then makes the case that the Jewelry Rule violation is "unsportsmanlike conduct",
and the Team A head coach must also exit the game. Threatens to file formal protest if that doesn't happen.

So, Team A Coach concedes, mainly because it is a big win for his team if they can hold or build upon their small lead.

Play resumes.
Bench Sub for Player 05 strikes out on 3 pitches.
Then, Player 06 smacks a line drive double to the left field fence, and three runs score...
(a bit of "poetic justice" at work here)

My Point:
1. The umpire's interpretation of the Jewelry Rule violation was correct: the wearing of a nose piercing definitely violates this rule.
2. The Umpire's application of penalty for violating this rule was not substantiated by the governing ruleset.

This umpire let himself be influenced by a bully of a coach who was scratching and clawing to find any means to try and disrupt a rally that would probably cause him to lose the game.

Team A ended up winning the game 8-1.

Umpires: if you don't know or are unsure of the proper penalty for a rules violation, maybe imposing the most severe possible outcome might not be the best choice.

The next day, Athletic Director for Team A contacts the Umpire Chapter that officiates our HS games.

The Director performs an official evaluation of what transpired and issued a formal responses that the penalties imposed are not part of the ruleset and should not have occurred.

a portion of that email clipped below:

In both cases, neither the player nor coach should be penalized for an ejection that was not supported by rule or for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Following last night’s varsity softball game, our chapter softball interpreter researched the jewelry rule and provided the following. This was sent to all our members this morning.

Jewelry Rule Procedure - NYSSO Softball

1. At ground rules, remind both teams that players are not permitted to wear jewelry during the game.

2. At ground rules, ask both coaches if their players are legally and properly equipped.

3. During the game, if it is brought to your attention that a player is wearing jewelry, do the following:

a. In the presence of the head coach, verify the presence of the jewelry. State that in order to participate in the game, the player may not wear jewelry.

b. If the player removes it, continue on and play ball.

c. If the player refuses to remove it, that player cannot participate in the game and the coach would need to put in a substitute.

Instructions to Umpires:

Don't let a coach pressure you into enforcing a penalty that does not exist. Some coaches will insist that a player should be ejected or called out or that a coach should be ejected. This is not the case in NYSSO softball.
 
Oct 24, 2010
135
18
NYSSO (i.e. New York) softball? Don't they use ASA/USA rules?
Under NFHS rules, the umpires should only warn (first offense) then restrict (second offense) not eject.
 
May 30, 2013
1,202
38
Binghamton, NY
NY doesn't use ASA/USA OR NFHS.

Every year, at the annual meeting for High School sports, there is always a motion to adopt NFHS rules,
and it's always defeated. Not sure why...
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,336
48
From what I understand, NY does use USA rules with modifications for jewelry
 
May 29, 2015
196
43
As pointed out, it all depends on your rule set. USSSA and NFHS are clear “NO jewelry.” USA actually leaves it up to the umpire to determine if the jewelry a hazard (my personal interpretation is ALL jewelry is a hazard, I’m not picking and choosing).

If a player refused to remove the jewelry after being instructed to do so, an ejection may be prudent (again, depends on your rule set) for failing to follow the umpire’s instructions. However, I am not aware of any rule set that would warrant an immediate ejection.

Many people say it isn’t harming anything and ask why is jewelry illegal? Have you ever seen a girl get hit in the ear area of her batting helmet and have the post of her earring pushed into her heck? I have.
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,336
48
As pointed out, it all depends on your rule set. USSSA and NFHS are clear “NO jewelry.” USA actually leaves it up to the umpire to determine if the jewelry a hazard (my personal interpretation is ALL jewelry is a hazard, I’m not picking and choosing).

If a player refused to remove the jewelry after being instructed to do so, an ejection may be prudent (again, depends on your rule set) for failing to follow the umpire’s instructions. However, I am not aware of any rule set that would warrant an immediate ejection.

Many people say it isn’t harming anything and ask why is jewelry illegal? Have you ever seen a girl get hit in the ear area of her batting helmet and have the post of her earring pushed into her heck? I have.
I couldn't care less if a player wears jewelry that is not a danger to another player. I am an umpire and not the player's parent, legal guardian or team administrator. Of course, I would enforce the rules that are to be enforced, but unless dictated, ain't happening
 
Jan 27, 2019
104
28
I have landed on the side of caution MTR. I am a no jewelry guy even in USA softball for two reasons:
1) Safety, I don't want anyone to get hurt, that's primary. It can cause an extra opportunity for injury so I have them remove it if at all possible
2) Security, if I deem it safe and she gets injured I have opened myself up to a lawsuit. She may not win but I do not want the hassle. 99% of the time that lawsuit will not be filed but I don't want to find that 1%.
That's just me, I take the approach there is no safe jewelry
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
669
28
I'm curious...I hear and read about umpires worrying about being sued for something they did or failed to do during a game. I've been involved with youth softball for some 13 years. I've coached from T-ball to HS-age travel ball. I know many umpires and coaches, and I've never heard of anyone being sued for anything. If anything, as a coach who throws and hits balls at players...sometimes pretty hard...I'd seem to be the one more vulnerable to a lawsuit.

I assume that umpires carry insurance just as coaches do...can someone tell me:

1. About their personal knowledge of a youth sports umpire who was sued sometime in this century...

2. If so, where, when, and what for?

3. If so, did the insurance company defend the lawsuit? If not, why?

4. What was the outcome?

I ask this because torts relating to activities such as softball can defended using a concept known as "assumed risk". Sports officials are generally protected by insurance and sometimes under law from claims of simple negligence. Many states specifically protect officials from claims arising from anything short of malicious or grossly negligent conduct...a pretty high bar to cross.
 
Jan 27, 2019
104
28
As I stated in my post, 99% of the time it will not happen because parents and coaches have enough common sense to know they are not likely to win the case.

I have never heard of an umpire being sued but I am not even close to an authority on such a topic.

I do have insurance through NFHS and USA softball. USSSA is not very popular in this area so I do not sanction through them or I would be covered with working if sanctioned and working a sanctioned tournament.

If I allow something to happen that is either against the rules or not covered by a rule I can potentially open myself up to a lawsuit which I doubt would be successful. But I do not want the hassle and the anxiety. I am not worried about losing a case for two reasons:
1) Such a case would, I would think, include the consideration of assumed risk so anything that happens within the rules would be covered
2) I do not open myself up to additional risk by taking chances. It's just that simple. I want the girls to have a much fun playing the game as possible. But it is not worth placing my family in a risky situation.

If a girl gets hit in the foot and breaks her toe, that's assumed risk, I hate it for her but it happens. If I allow her in the batter's box with a helmet and no facemask and she gets hit in the face and breaks her nose or loses teeth, I have opened myself up to liability. Any safety rule that I ignore puts me as risk.
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,336
48
As I stated in my post, 99% of the time it will not happen because parents and coaches have enough common sense to know they are not likely to win the case.

I have never heard of an umpire being sued but I am not even close to an authority on such a topic.

I do have insurance through NFHS and USA softball. USSSA is not very popular in this area so I do not sanction through them or I would be covered with working if sanctioned and working a sanctioned tournament.

If I allow something to happen that is either against the rules or not covered by a rule I can potentially open myself up to a lawsuit which I doubt would be successful. But I do not want the hassle and the anxiety. I am not worried about losing a case for two reasons:
1) Such a case would, I would think, include the consideration of assumed risk so anything that happens within the rules would be covered
2) I do not open myself up to additional risk by taking chances. It's just that simple. I want the girls to have a much fun playing the game as possible. But it is not worth placing my family in a risky situation.

If a girl gets hit in the foot and breaks her toe, that's assumed risk, I hate it for her but it happens. If I allow her in the batter's box with a helmet and no facemask and she gets hit in the face and breaks her nose or loses teeth, I have opened myself up to liability. Any safety rule that I ignore puts me as risk.
And in USA, there is no rule forbidding jewelry. As far as a lawsuit is concerned, the parents are just part of the issue since they do not have
authority to waive another organization's right to attempt what legal action they deem necessary.
 

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