Saturday, March 28, 2009

NFHS Baseball Rules and Rulebook

I have been asked a few times if the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) baseball rulebook is available online. The answer is yes, but you must be a member of an NFHS Professional Association or state staff member in order to access it. As a HS umpire registered with my state's activities association I was able to register with the NFHS and log on. The link for the rulebook is:

The baseball casebook is also available online at the same site.


The Artful Dodger said...

Is there any rule that prohibits a pitcher from wearing a black neoprene compression sleeve on his elbow? My son was instructed by an umpire to remove a black sleeve, even though the top of the sleeve was covered by his jersey, giving it the look of a 3/4 length undershirt.

I umpire Little League and Pony League games, and I know of no rule that prohibits this, so long as the sleeve is not white or distracting. Interestingly, the pitcher before him wore a full-length navy blue Underarmor compression shirt under his jersey with the sleeve on his non-throwing arm cut off. The appearance was the same ... so why the inconsistency? Was this umpire wrong?

Michael said...


As an official doing Varsity and below in Hawaii, I came across your question...Long after it was posted but I would still like to provide an answer if I may...

The rule behind this is regarding the uniform for players. The pitcher is not permitted to take the mound with anything not considered part of the official uniform.

The case readings on this go way back to prevent foreign substances from being introduced to the ball via such items (compression sleeves nowadays, wrist bands, batting gloves, etc.)

Pitchers used to attempt to secret substances on their person to help give the ball more action and thus an unfair advantage over the batters they face.

It is commonly overlooked by many but those that do are doing a disservice as those pitchers that may move up will be confused when they are finally faced with it at a higher level where such rules, regardless of how obscure they may, are enforced.

This is the difference between officials seeking to be viewed as good guys versus officials that desire to be viewed as excellent officials.

The long sleeve is permitted provided it is part of a whole shirt, as it is then considered part of the uniform. Oddly enough, there are some differences betwen Federation and MLB on this issue as that can create some further confusion for officials to decide upon.

All players are routinely required to have matching uniforms. Those that wear such compression shirts, or long sleeved t-shirts, when others don't, can be considered out of uniform. Of course white or gray sleeves on a pitcher is prohibited to keep the ball from being entirely lost in delivery.

The pitcher is the one position with the largest portion of the rules required to govern, as such, they are frequently confused, misintepreted, or unenforced. There should be an umpire organization in your are that can provide further answer, if you have not already sought them out for answer.

I hope this helps. If you do in fact get this, let me know please at

Mike Turman

Anonymous said...

The sleeve would be legal. There is nothing actually in the rules to prohibit it. White or gray would not be allowed, but otherwise 1.4 (2) is clear in its intent and leaves it to the umpire's judgment: "A pitcher shall not wear any item on his hands, wrists or arms which may be distracting to the batter. A pitcher shall not wear white or gray exposed undershirt sleeves or any white or gray sleeve that extends below the elbow.