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George Drouches - National Coordinator Notes
  • 9/14/2020

    As Autumn Opportunities avail themselves…

    Be smart. Follow guidelines. Take care of yourself.

    Whether virtual or in a camp setting, I commend all teachers and mentors for their selfless passion to, simply, help another brother in the fellowship get better at their officiating craft - 2021 & 2022 NCAA Baseball Major Rule Changes.

    In addition to study and mastering the NCAA Rule Changes for 2021, I encourage attention and self-evaluation to the following two areas:

    1. Discipline yourself to master the communication phraseology: by rule, in my judgment

    2. Discipline yourself to master the 20-second action pitch clock: all the nuances - (whether visible or not) – this rule will have dramatic pace-of-play momentum in 2021…

    As you continue your preparations, either as a mentor, teacher or student, please take a moment to peruse Mark Ditsworth, NCAA Baseball Umpire Advisor’s Reflections.

    Finally, this past summer, I reported to the NCAA Division I Conference Baseball Administrators, Conference Baseball Coordinators, the  Division I Baseball Committee and the Baseball Rules Committee -  that I was extremely proud of how the umpiring community addressed the impactful rules changes and game-changing challenges presented in the 2019 season; as well as 2020, albeit an abrupt one -  and that this disciplined effort, once again - enforcing the NCAA’s Baseball Rules Committee’s new rule changes - will be required in 2021.

    The talent of a great leader isn’t their talent. It’s their ability to spot talent and collide with it,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 5/14/2020

    Lead Strategically. Love Spontaneously…

    …sums-up Mr. McCallum's heart-felt open letter of May 5. Thank you, Bill - for your inspiring words.

    Please take the time to visit D1Baseball.com's College Baseball RoundTable - this is a very informative discussion regarding the future of college baseball.

    2021 NCAA College Baseball is being planned and formulated: 2021 & 2022  Rules Proposals are in;  the Annual Baseball Umpire Program Meeting with Conference Baseball Coordinators, Conference Baseball Administrators and NCAA Staff is July 8 (before I forget - please send me any items for consideration by May 31), the Annual NCAA Rules Meeting will be held July 21 to 23 and the next Division I Baseball Committee Meeting is August 6. My 2020-2021 (12 month) Job Mapping Plan is completed - this is the Baseball Umpire Program's business plan:  which encompasses budget-to-responsibilities-to-production timelines-to duties, inclusive. 2021 TD Ameritrade Stadium.  Click to view Outfield Pitch Clock and Home Plate Clocks.

    Plans were well-underway for the four regional umpire clinics in January to kick off the 2021 season.  However, the recent cancellations, due to the pandemic,  have had a major economic impact on all participants (NCAA, conferences, and individual umpires).  While there are many positives to being able to get together in-person, the prudent decision for the coming season, and one requested by several conference coordinators and baseball administrators, was to replace the in-person meetings with an online version. Umpires have experienced reduced income from lost game fees, and many have also been impacted in their personal business lives.  Asking umpires to incur travel expenses for any baseball-related meeting prior to the start of next season, especially with the advances in the use of video conferencing, makes no fiscal sense.  Hopefully, the in-person meetings will continue to be periodically scheduled in future years.

    Finally, be thankful. Thank God for being one who is alive and well. Be thankful that you’re one of those who can reach out to others. Be thankful you can take the time to catch up with some tasks needing attention. Be thankful there are doctors and nurses and others in the medical community who are risking their lives each and every day to save those infected. Be thankful. We have a lot to be thankful for.

    Always keep your heart twice the size of your brain,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/23/2020

    Anytime you help another person stay emotionally organized, you have served them well as a friend…

    Don’t be overwhelmed. Be aggressive. Be vigilant. Be committed. We will win the battle against this virus. We have common sense. We have wisdom. We have heart, and we are resilient. Worldwide, we have amazing scientists and doctors - they will very soon map out exactly how we can better protect ourselves against this virus even before drugs or a vaccine are available. Until then, we have to try what we can, learn and share. Each person’s ability to have an impact on this is powerful. It’s not just what others do. Each of us has an important role to play.

    Home Plate shall continue to be the location for officials to go for education, training and updates. Our commitment is to be a resource to officials even if games are not being played. Our NCAA Baseball Officiating Conference Call with Conference Baseball Coordinators, NCAA Staff and Conference Baseball Administrators, will take place on Wednesday, April 1.

    Please feel free to reach out to me at georgedrouches@gmail.com; stay vigilant to personal and your loved one’s health.

    Sincerely,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National  Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/12/2020

     First off,  thank you for your 2020 NCAA Online Umpire Clinic comments and suggestions - our team  will work to implement them into the 2022 Online production.

    Baseball Umpire Advisor observations as reported during our March 4 NCAA Baseball Officiating Conference Call with Conference Baseball Coordinators and Administrators:

    • Need better prevention of dugout personnel coming onto the field during a live ball (celebratory after a run scores but the play is continuing).
    • Keeping on deck hitters at the proper number between innings and during an at bat.
    • Strong plate performances so far – calling the full zone consistently, although fast timing has been common – especially on strike three.
    • Communication and eye contact between umpires has been very good; hard work and instincts have improved umpire mechanics and rotations.
    • Umpires are doing a much better job anticipating and reading the next possible play and adjusting, accordingly.
    • Confrontations are too lengthy – all have been good by allowing the coach to have his say , but must be able to warn and walk away; and a reminder that umpires must stop talking and allow the coaches to walk away as well.
    • Timing is still a problem.  Between innings is good and with no runners on is improved; 20-second action clock is either good or bad with runners on base. Early-on It has been relatively- easy to observe which umpires have studied the action clock rules with runners on base and which umpires have not.
    • Pause/Read and React: most umpires move before they read (too quick).  Once this happens they have committed to going out.  Need to go slow – slow - use your eyes not your feet.  Take your time before you give your key.
    • Umpiring for the most part is much improved.  Best I have seen this early in the season (in some big ball games).  Alignments are much improved.  Following protocols has been outstanding.
    • Video Review management has been very good. 
    • BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT is the focus and the attitude of the umpires.  Most appear more serious.  Less joking around on the field. More business-like attitudes – that has been very good to see.
    • Keep coaches in the box -do not allow them to get closer to foul line or closer to home plate.

    You as officials and coordinators are off to an excellent year - there is better focus on mechanics, more serious attention to student-athlete safety, and an improved  management (control) of the game; however, we have work to do – unsportsmanlike conduct by players and coaches is quickly coming back into our game and we must be firmer in strictly enforcing the rules. And, of course, we can always have quicker recall of the playing rules.

    Continuous quality improvement is always our aim.

    Remember:  a loss of focus for even a pitch and the game may find you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 2/12/2020

    The standards of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program is for ALL Stakeholders affiliated with NCAA Baseball to align to the training, education and testing benchmarks – as this will all-but-eliminate the possibility that the integrity of our great game can be compromised.

    The NCAA Baseball Preseason Test was taken by 2,609 Umpires, with a passing rate of 95.0%. I encourage all of you, to not only spend time on the test review, but with all that our Home Plate has to offer. I ask that when you receive the 2020 NCAA Online Umpire Clinic Survey – please be candid with your evaluative comments, thank you.

    • Rule interpretations will continue to be issued by Randy Bruns, the NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor to clarify and educate all to the provisions.  [] 20- second action rule  1. Discipline yourself to memory 2.  Discipline yourself to putting the ball in play time and time again. [] Batter Requests Time rule 7-1-b   3. Do not be cavalier with granting time. 4. Discipline to memory:  rule 7-1-b

    The Division I Baseball Umpire Advisors will, once again, submit a NCAA Baseball Umpire Game Evaluation to the appropriate Division I Conference Baseball Coordinator(s). In 2019, 745 NCAA Reports were sent; 2020 has another aggressively-planned travel schedule by the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program - my simple 2020 ask for all officials: view every game…as an opportunity to excel.

    I know the challenge that you face game-in; game-out to create a safe playing environment for all student-athletes and the work that is required to consistently enforce the rules so that both teams have an equal opportunity to win.

    Hard work pays dividends: as College Baseball has never been in a better place…

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires 

  • 12/18/2019

    2020:  Leadership is not about production, it's about reproduction…

    This past summer, I mentioned to the NCAA Division I Conference Baseball Administrators, Conference Baseball Coordinators, the  Division I Baseball Committee and the Baseball Rules Committee -  that I was extremely proud of how the umpiring community addressed  the rules changes and game-changing challenges presented this past season; and that this vigilant and passionate effort was required in one of the most-impactful seasons, in recent history of NCAA Baseball. 

    The 20-second action pitch clock, whether visible or not - will have  dramatic pace-of-play momentum in 2020 - this momentum doesn't require something monumental : approach pace-of play's changes with passion and we will be fine.

    2020:  You don't have to be ridiculously gifted. You just have to be ridiculously committed

    -Study the rule book every day.

    -Study the mechanics manual every day.

    -Review, study the posted Videos regularly.

    -Watch for new items on Home Plate.

    -Give careful attention to any information you receive from your Conference Baseball Coordinator.

    There is much work to do in 2020 -  but I will tell all of you, this:  I am extremely grateful for everyone who participates in our NCAA Baseball Umpire Program -  for their selfless passion to service; in addition, much appreciation as well to the Conference Baseball Coordinators for their dedication with collaborative efforts, including but not limited to: branding/marketing of officiating, clinics and educational efforts, evaluation processes, assignment recommendations for NCAA Championships, communication with committees/coaches, dealing with situations during the regular season; NCAA Championships, and recruiting new officials.

    2020: The most important facet of mentoring is connection, not correction…

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful and blessed Christmas,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of  Umpires

  • 12/2/2019

    I hope you had a fantastic summer and fall. It is that time of year when we all increase our preparation for the upcoming season.

    Please visit the Home Plate Central Hub frequently to stay current on the latest Baseball  officiating news and information.  On the central hub, you’ll be able to read the latest rules interpretations from the Secretary-Rules Editor and bulletins from the National Coordinator, complete your requirements to be considered for a postseason assignment, and review videos of recurring plays and how they are to be officiated.

    To register, click the REGISTRATION Tab at the top of the page.

    The 2020 NCAA Men’s Baseball Officiating Exam will be available on the TESTING Tab, January 3, 2020.  When available, the 2020 NCAA  Baseball Rules & Officiating Video can be accessed on the VIDEO Tab.  Searchable rules and case books are available by clicking on the RULES BOOKS Tab.  A digital version of the2020 CCA Baseball Umpires Manual will be available by clicking the CCA APP Tab.  To download the free ArbiterMobile app, click here.

    This year’s Welcome Packet includes the 2019-20 NCAA Baseball Rules Book  and 2020 Men’s CCA Baseball Umpires Manual.  Welcome Packets will begin shipping mid-December, with officials who registered first receiving their packets first.  Any questions about welcome packets can be submitted here.

    The 2020 NCAA Online Umpire Clinic will open December 9, 2019 and close January 20, 2020.

    I am very pleased  you have chosen to register with the NCAA.  Thank you for being a critical part of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program.  If you have ideas or suggestions for improvement, please email me at georgedrouches@gmail.com.

    Best wishes for a great season!

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 8/21/2019

    One door closes, another door opens…

    Recently, I mentioned to the NCAA Division I Conference Baseball Administrators, Coordinators and the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee -  that I was extremely proud of how the umpiring community addressed  the rules changes and game-changing challenges presented this past season; and that under the direction of Scott Taylor, Don Umland;  as well as  the Division I, II, III Baseball Coordinators - the fellowship of umpires, truly, were leaders in one of the most  most-impactful seasons, in recent history of NCAA Baseball.  Click here to view the National Coordinator End of Season Recap from Omaha.

    Rule interpretations (charged conferences, hit by pitch [HBP], between innings timing protocols, expanded video review, pitching position, runners lane interference [POE] and the suspension penalties) will continue to be issued by Randy Bruns, NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor as needed -  to clarify and educate all to the provisions. 2020 rule changes include: required bat barrel compression testing, bat color requirements; a 20-second action rule be enforced before all pitches.

    For the first time, Centralized Video Review was implemented within the 2019 NCAA Regional Tournament. Centralized Video Review Officials (Pittsburgh-based DVSport Command Center, TD Ameritrade Stadium, Omaha) had 187 reviews in the 138 games played during the Regional, Super Regional and College World Series. 2019 NCAA Championship: games with at least 1 review: 101, no reviews: 37, average reviews/game: 1.5; average length of review: 1:15. In addition to Centralized Video Review being exceptionally-seamless throughout the Championship, the NCAA’s partnership with DVSport, Inc. has brought much added value- to the umpire development vision and plan of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program. Finally, respective Baseball Committees indicated that the umpiring crews performed their duties with a high degree of professionalism and excellence throughout the 2019 Division I, Division II and Division III Championships…very well done, here, everyone…

    2019 was a very successful  and productive campaign; and as Development opportunities continue - I  commend and admire the entrepreneurs and the teachers - for their selfless passion to give back; to invest themselves in servant leadership.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 4/11/2019

    Umpire Competition is at an All-Time High…

    Postseason discussion began during our April 3 NCAA Baseball Officiating Conference Call.

    Please take the time to review the Championship Assignment Procedures found on pages 10-13 in the 2019 NCAA Division I Game Officials Manual.

    I strongly encourage all of you to review the NCAA Regional Baseball Advisors’ Observations and self-assess your body of officiating work thus far.

    As I mentioned in Dallas, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Pittsburgh: the challenges ahead in 2019 are game -changing, representative to all involved- as the year-ahead of us is one of the most impactful years in recent college baseball history, and:

    • Leadership is not about production it’s about reproduction.
    • Be a contributor, not a distraction.
    • You don’t have to be ridiculously gifted. You just have to be ridiculously committed.

    NEW for 2019: Smitty Officials Apparel will supply uniforms for all NCAA Baseball Championship Umpires, and only Smitty Officials Apparel will be worn by umpires in the 2019 NCAA Tournament; any  previously-issued Honig's apparel will no longer be allowed. The website is www.smittychampionships.com.  The site is live and you may review the products that are available. Follow the prompts: create an account with email address and password for access. All of the items available for the Tournament will be available for purchase. Please note that once umpire selections are announced, this will be a protected site for only those Division I, II, III umpires selected to their respective NCAA Regional and Super Regional Tournaments.

    Our recent NCAA Video Bulletin and Regional Baseball Advisor observations made comment cautioning that calling pitches too far off the outside corner as strikes is becoming an all-too-frequent complaint from coaches – please take the time, now,  to read Morris Hodge’s timely read, Enhancing your Game.  

    Just remember that preparation, focus and concentration are important keys to excellent officiating…view every game as an opportunity to excel.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires 

  • 3/13/2019

    Athleticism. Judgment. Comportment… 

    On behalf of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your solid work and commitment in servicing our great game of college baseball day-after-day, night-after-night…with class, professionalism and integrity. As we enter Conference competition, the intensity will, indeed, ramp-up. I ask that you embrace this intensity and continue to listen, respect and, simply, enforce the rules as written-stay the course-as your leadership has already paid dividends in this, anticipated, impactful season.

    The NCAA Baseball Preseason Test was taken by 2,439 Umpires, with a passing rate of 95.8%. I encourage all of you, to not only spend time on the test review, but with all that our Home Plate has to offer. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the NCAA Regional Umpire Clinic Survey - your feedback indicated a very positive experience, with 90% of the overall responses indicating Excellent, Good or Above Average.  Regarding your responses, I, for one, am very appreciative of your candor.

    NEW for 2019: The NCAA Regional Baseball Advisors will submit a  2019 NCAA Baseball Umpire Game Evaluation to the appropriate Division I Conference Baseball Coordinator. The Form is found within the Forms tab of  Home Plate.

    -View every game…as an opportunity to excel.

    -Please  take the time to review this not-so-often Play - how would you manage this?  

    -Remember the privilege of and your Coordinators' expectations as conference play rolls-in.

    We know the challenge that you face game-in; game-out to create a safe playing environment for all student-athletes and your work to consistently enforce the rules so that both teams have an equal opportunity to win - has, in my humble opinion, been impressive to date.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires 

  • 2/13/2019

    Impacting change

    First off, I want to say thank you – the four NCAA Regional Umpire Clinics witnessed record numbers of attendees – my gratitude goes out to all Officials and Coordinators for their efforts and passion to improve NCAA College Baseball.

    From the Clinics: please refresh, continually, the targets and expectations of the National Program: new rule applications, mechanics (focus, getting set, proper use of eyes, mentoring), professional standards, (protocol, disciplined communication), getting the call right (make the adjustment in 2019), personal wellness and handling situations (2019 application)…

    Yes, 2018 was, arguably, the best season for baseball officiating in recent history. We still have much work to do – as continuous improvement is always our aim.

    The umpiring industry will be up to the challenges ahead in 2019 - as I know how much work, preparation and passion goes into this commitment to our get-better agenda.

    Very exciting times ahead: this umpiring group has the humbled-opportunity to be leaders in one of the most impactful years in recent college baseball history.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 12/13/2018

    Let's not kid ourselves, here…

    …a game-changing season awaits.

    As we begin the 2019 Baseball Season, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for a remarkably well-officiated 2018 and offer encouragement for the new season.

    This encouragement speaks to your unbridled preparation and discipline to enforce the rules as written and to move-away from one's more-comfortable just guidelines philosophy…

    As I mentioned, earlier: The approved rule changes are game-changers - and not just for coaches and players.

    I appreciate your investment to get better via the Baseball Website; as the season progresses, discipline yourself to:

    -Study the rule book every day.

    -Study the mechanics manual every day.

    -Review, study the posted Videos regularly.

    -Watch for new items on Home Plate.

    -Give careful attention to any information you receive from your conference coordinator.

    Dr. Ramos' Extra Innings, article states, 'The offseason is an ideal time to do a personal inventory of your health and well being.  It is difficult to get the time or the mindset to carry this out in season.   As you think about your own health, both physical and mental health issues need to be addressed to not only optimize your performance currently  but also to maintain good health and habits later in life.'

    Let me ask you, this, where are you at with your inventory?

    A formal NCAA welcome to Mike Conlin in his new Coordinator role and a great job to Scott Taylor and Don Umland for their leadership in directing a highly-successful Division II & Division III Championship.

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas- see you in Phoenix or Orlando or Chicago or Pittsburgh.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpire

  • 11/30/2018

    Winter is here and another season of NCAA Baseball is right around the corner.  I know that we are all anticipating the beginning of the season.

    Please visit the Home Plate Central Hub frequently to stay current on the latest Baseball  officiating news and information.  On the central hub, you’ll be able to read the latest rules interpretations from the Secretary-Rules Editor and bulletins from the National Coordinator, complete your requirements to be considered for a postseason assignment, and review videos of recurring plays and how they are to be officiated.

    To register, click the REGISTRATION Tab at the top of the page.

    The 2019 NCAA Men’s Baseball Officiating Exam will be available on the TESTING Tab January 28, 2019.  When available, the 2019 NCAA  Baseball Rules & Officiating Video can be accessed on the VIDEO Tab.  Searchable rules and case books are available by clicking on the RULES BOOKS Tab.  A digital version of the Mechanics Manual will be available by clicking the CCA APP Tab.

    This year’s Welcome Packet includes the 2019 & 2020  NCAA Baseball Rules Book and 2019  CCA Baseball Umpires Manual.  

    For Regional Clinic Registration, please click HERE.  When you register for the clinic, be sure to use the same email address that you used for your NCAA Baseball central hub registration to ensure you receive credit (a green checkmark) in your Eligibility Center.

    Again this year, the ArbiterMobile app is available at no cost to NCAA registered officials. To download the app, please complete this season's officials' registration, and then download it from Google Play or iTunes.  Click here to read ArbiterMobile FAQs

    I am very pleased  you have chosen to register with the NCAA.  Thank you for being a critical part of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program.  If you have ideas or suggestions for improvement, please email me at georgedrouches@gmail.com.

    I look forward to seeing you at the Regional Umpire Clinics and throughout the season.

    Best wishes for a great season!

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 9/4/2018

    Autumn Opportunities avail themselves for Earned Success...

    At the recent CWS Pre-Tournament Meeting, Mr. Ray Tanner, NCAA Division I Baseball Committee Chair, indicated that college baseball is in a very good place...

    ...when my turn came, I indicated college baseball officiating is also in a very good place. This statement was validated prior - as I did ask the 8 coaches for some candid comments regarding the officiating at their recent Super Regional Tournament - very good officiating, Super Regional Crews -  22 of 24 possible Tournament games; excellent leadership, mentoring as well - National Coordinator 2018 Season Recap Video from Omaha.

    I commend and admire all teachers for their selfless passion to, simply, help another brother in the fellowship get better at their officiating craft - Final 2019 and 2020 NCAA Baseball Rules Change.  
    I do have one direct camp ask:


    Discipline yourself to master the communication phraseology: by rule, in my judgment- we need to be much better with our explanation discourse- embellishment, pontificating is passé and is no longer acceptable in our game.

    As you continue your preparations, either as teacher or student, I ask that you review these well-written articles- Mental Discipline, Management, Decision-Making, these will ready all involved...

    F
    inally, I mentioned to the crew at the CWS - they have the wondrous opportunity to mentor all of college baseball, and they were very successful in doing so...Reputation is one thing, earned success is another.

    Have a great Autumn opportunity, everyone.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 5/10/2018

    Appleton, Cary, Omaha...

    ...are synonymous with the three divisions of NCAA Baseball- with its few thousand umpires and its corresponding several thousand baseball games played to date...

    As I write this, the month of May has tightened its grip on all of us - no one associated with college baseball is excluded, no one - simply, everything just means more, now: savor this time.

    Congratulations to all the umpires who have the wonderful opportunity to work in a Conference Tournament: savor the assignment, truly understand the importance- this gift of mentoring - as thousands of umpires may never get a Conference Tournament assignment...

    I am very proud and appreciative of the umpiring efforts in 2018; you have compressed the rolling intensity of college baseball into a seamless art: thousands & thousands of games contested throughout this great country - with very few issues. Very impressive, men.

    Please have a blessed and reflective Mother's Day.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 4/12/2018

    As we move through the regular season...

    ...there is plenty of baseball left to play, so, let me ask, as I do at this juncture:

    How has your body of work been so far in the areas of Athleticism, Judgment and Comportment?

    I'll ask a second question, now, are you focusing your efforts to improve your work in the areas the NCAA Regional Baseball Advisors made reference to in last month's National Coordinator notes?

    Post-season discussion began during our April 4th NCAA Baseball Umpire Program Coordinator and Conference Administrator Teleconference.

    What We Look For:

    -Character & Professionalism
    -Schedule Worked
    -
    Leadership Qualities
    -
    Excellent Judgment
    -
    Positive Appearance/mobility & agility
    -
    Previous Postseason Evaluations
    -
    Professional Experience

    In February, I asked you to work very hard to bring the optics of Sportsmanship and Behavior back into balance. As a collaborative leadership group with college baseball - stay diligent to the opportunity to impact changes to the culture of baseball. Please take the time to peruse this engaging read by Mike Morris, I hope you find this helpful. 

    Finally, preparation, focus and concentration are the keys to excellent officiating in the postseason just as in the regular season. View every game as an another opportunity to excel.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/14/2018

    The juices are flowing...

    As we move through the early part of the campaign - let me thank everyone- the officiating has been very good thus far.

    Some pretty good college baseball exposure already: whether Conference Challenges or Major League Baseball venues or hotly-contested  neutral site matchups - all, all really have challenged our preparation, focus and concentration.

    View every game as an opportunity to excel - there is always room for improvement, of course, and indeed an underlying philosophy of the NCAA Baseball Umpire Program is continued quality improvement. You are doing great work as an important part of a great game; the challenge is to continue to improve.

    Self evaluate these Regional Baseball Advisors' Observations:

    • Keep utilizing the 20 second mechanic and the 90 second mechanic.
    • Fraternize with the coaches at a necessary minimum.
    • Too much walking can indicate a  lack of energy.
    • Not keeping hitters in the box.
    • Too many on deck hitters in the safety "V"
    • Not keeping base coaches in the coaches box.
    • Better reads on fly balls are needed and will be helped by pre pitch awareness of outfield positioning.
    • When going out on trouble balls, not enough stopping for the catch- gain an angle but then allow time to be completely stopped!  (“In the process of stopping” is not STOPPED!)
    • Timing is too fast- Plate umpires must hold their position longer while processing their ball/ strike decision.  Coming up from the stance too quickly cuts down processing time.
    • Plate umpires must be aware of their head position!  You must be able to see the pitch hit the catcher’s mitt!
    • Working to get the best position from B or C on double play balls. Not just staying in one place.
    • Pre pitch alignment in C with possible steal of 3B. Most guys are too deep and not able to get a good angle. (3 man)
    • Pause, Read, React (3 man)
    • Knowing when to rotate and when not to- guys either not complete a rotation and others who run to home plate before the runner commits to 3B.

    Athleticism. Judgment. Comportment. Target and plan your improvement process in these three separating areas; and, please take the time to peruse this engaging read by Doug Williams.

    By the numbers: the recent first-ever NCAA online Clinic had 2431 completed views; the NCAA Baseball Preseason test was taken by 2321 Umpires, with a passing rate of 93.9%. I encourage all of you, to not only spend time on the test review, but with all that our Home Plate has to offer.

    Finally, thank you to the 650 umpires who took the time to complete the NCAA online Clinic survey - your feedback is most helpful and appreciated.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 2/13/2018

    The season is finally upon us!

    Be passionate, be excited- make it your business this season to challenge yourself more-than-ever to be the very best you can be:  game-in; game-out.

    A special thank you to Bobbi Edmunds @ ArbiterSports for her superb work with our first-ever NCAA online Regional Umpire Clinic, and to Jay Fitzwater @ the NCAA Studios for his production expertise with the 2018 NCAA Rules and Officiating Video.

    I have asked the Division I Conference Coordinators and NCAA Regional Baseball Advisors to hold conference calls in March, April and May- as part of our enhanced communication program.

    In addition, I have asked the NCAA Regional Baseball Advisors to send comments (via email) from their observation(s) to the Conference Coordinators on a weekly basis.

    We have continued our efforts to educate and inform the Coaches and Media regarding the NCAA rule interpretations and points of emphasis for 2018.

    I have placed a Head Coach Incident/Ejection/Suspension Form on Home Plate: Head Coaches for many years have complained about no due process and getting their side of the story. This form would not replace the Incident/Ejection/Suspension Form that umpires complete nor would it change any of the penalties -  but might be used by conference or national coordinators as additional information. If the form is completed by the Head Coach -  at least he has had his say in the matter. If not, he has no complaints coming.

    Work hard at being approachable and do your part to bring the optics of sportsmanship and behavior back into balance. Enforce the rules as written - you have the support of the National Coordinator, your Coordinator of Officials and all the Stakeholders of the game.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 12/14/2017

    The  discipline of consistent attention to our craft pays dividends…

    It is very clear to me that due to the disciplined attributes of all the conference coordinators and officials, plus enthusiastic support from Committees and Administrators - that college baseball umpiring has a firm foundation.

    I know that all of you officials, Regional Advisors, Coordinators, Committee members are as excited as the teams and fans are to get 2018 NCAA Baseball underway.

    Everyone  involved in officiating continues to be deeply-engaged in understanding the mechanics, rules, points of emphasis and a myriad of the little things you must master to be successful.

    I appreciate your investment to get better via the Baseball Website. When you receive your Welcome Packet, I challenge you to be habitual and disciplined-absorbing  all that the Central Hub has to offer.

    Seek to find Balance, prepare & discipline yourself with the time-away challenges and the sacrifices which lie ahead:

    A formal NCAA welcome to Troy Fullwood, Chris Marshall and Rob Healey in their new Coordinator roles and kudos to Scott Taylor and Don Umland for their disciplined leadership regarding postseason processes; thus, culminating in an outstanding Division II & III Championship.

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of  Umpires

  • 12/1/2017

    We are excited about the new season -- please visit the Home Plate Hub frequently to stay current on the latest Baseball Umpiring news and information.

    Via the Home Plate page, you will be able to read the latest rules interpretations from the Secretary-Rules Editor, bulletins from the National Coordinator; review development - focused articles from conference coordinators, regional advisors and umpires; complete your requirements for postseason consideration, and review videos of recurring plays and how they are to be officiated.

    Registration is now available, and officials who register will receive a Welcome Packet that includes a 2018 CCA Baseball Umpires Manual; 2017 & 2018 NCAA Baseball Rule Book. In addition, ArbiterSports and Referee Enterprises will again provide a digital CCA Manual app for all registered baseball umpires. Registered Umpires will receive an email from Tracking Updates @fedex.com informing them of the ship date of their Welcome Packet.

    To register: click on the REGISTRATION Tab at the top of the page.

    Via the VIDEOS Tab, the 2018 NCAA ONLINE Regional Umpire Clinic may be accessed; the Clinic will open Monday, January 8, 2018 and close Sunday, January 28, 2018. The NCAA Preseason Rules test will be open on the TESTING Tab, January 29, 2018 and remain open until February 12, 2018.  

    The Searchable NCAA Baseball Rules Book can be found by clicking on the RULES BOOK Tab. The database allows for quick and easy reference between rules which is a great feature. I encourage you to make extensive use of this asset.

    The ArbiterMobile app is now available at no cost to NCAA registered officials. To download the app, please complete this season's officials' registration and then click here to read ArbiterMobile FAQs.

    Thank you for choosing to register with the NCAA; if you have any ideas or suggestions for improvement, please email me at georged@autoporter.com.

    Have a fabulous season!

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 9/5/2017

    Since the end of June, I have had the privilege to attend clinics, meetings, media sessions and other events-- which really indicate college baseball, 2018 . What is clear to me from these experiences is that college baseball is in very good shape…

    Wherever the development opportunity is presenting  itself, let me take this opportunity to say thank you and offer encouragement to your commitment to making yourself a better official.

    I truly commend all involved in what is truly a labor of love-spending much time, passion  and effort to craft a get better agenda:  clinicians, instructors and attendees, alike.

    2018 is a non-rules change year. The 2017 Secretary-Rules Editor’s interpretations will continue to receive attention:  hit by pitch (HBP), pitching position, plays at the plate.coach-umpire interaction: how to handle it the correct way.

    Attachment 1

    Attachment 2

    As we prepare for fall camps and the 2018 baseball season, I would ask that you offer & reinforce the following teaching points from the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee & NCAA Baseball Umpire Program:

    • The pitching position rule: Specific Guidelines and instructions for umpires were established, as well as video bulletins addressing the primary directive of the new rule- that the pitcher must clearly declare what pitching position he is in-when he is taking his sign.
    • Video Bulletins early and throughout the year focusing on the intentional component of  hit-by-pitch (HBP) in addition -  simplified language was installed, 'Coach, I am bringing your batter back to bat because in my judgment your batter intentionally tried to get hit by that pitch.'
    • Dramatic reductions in violent collisions at Home Plate:  due in part to better instruction,  as well as establishing plays at the plate protocol: dirt circle,  catcher not in the baseline, act of fielding, obvious attempt to avoid a collision.
    • The NCAA Rules Committee discussed the need to continue to emphasize student-athlete and coach misconduct issues as serious offenses and will not be tolerated in collegiate baseball: instruct umpires to issue an official warning to attempt to defuse an escalating situation.

    We are all  getting after it--keep working hard--there is a challenging avocation ahead in 2018--I challenge you to see this as another opportunity to simply, excel.

    In baseball,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of  Umpires

  • 5/11/2017

    The world of data...

    ...The importance of data collection and its use to review various aspects of the college baseball game is at a never-before-witnessed level.

    As post-season assignment time approaches, these revered, yet elusive opportunities, show themselves to, but a handful in every conference.

    Congratulations to this exclusive opportunity, but the truly real opportunity, from my (anticipated data) stance -is the opportunity to mentor.

    Moving on, now: players and coaches continue to exhibit unsportsmanlike acts and conduct that demean the game. All umpires should remain diligent to enforcing the rules and standards with prudent judgment and consistency.

    As May unfolds and tightens-Congratulations to not just the Conference Tournament Umpires, but to all of you--we are having a great year; I am proud of all you and the Coordinators--who have worked hard to help you get better.

    Finally, as Conference and NCAA Championships loom, I simply ask that you hold close to the vest these thoughts, 'stay the course with our get better agenda' - 'you only get to keep what you give away' -  'do what is right and what is defendable.'

    Best wishes for a blessed and reflective Mother's Day.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 4/13/2017

    Grinding…

    …We have worked our way through another month of the season; and to put perspective to our work: approximately 1,500 plus games are played  every Friday to Sunday- throughout the respective 99 Conferences of NCAA baseball.

    These head-to-head conference weekend series are said to be really entire seasons compressed into a handful of incredibly intense days-- the preparation and anticipation- including the RPI-infused mid-week games- ignites the pressure to win these series.  We are all scrutinized, (players, coaches, umpires, media), alike-within this business, and with business-one must stay disciplined to succeed:  do what is right and what is defendable…

    Post-season discussion began during our April 5th  Baseball Umpire Program Coordinator and Conference Administrator Conference Call.  Let me ask you this:  how has your body of work been so far?

    Grinding--we are all grinding, the NCAA Regional Advisors (Jim, Scott, Bill, Mark, Bob) are watching a remarkable amount of in-person and televised games; Don Umland and Scott Taylor  have been  in communication with the Coordinators, evaluating umpires--preparing their recommendations to their respective Baseball Committees. Home Plate's  get better agenda objective is a constant with Tom Hiler, as well as Randy Bruns' responses regarding Rule Interpretations and Clarifications.  Impressive work, everyone.

    Let me highlight a few points going forward from what I have observed to this point of the season: 

    • Strike Zone.  Let's make certain we don't call a pitch a strike -when it is inside the other batters  box's line--especially, it seems-with a left-handed batter. Technology, pitch-type  tracking systems, Television-exposes everything…
    • Coaches' Box- the 3rd base coaches box--be certain to enforce: at time of pitch- NOT closer to the foul line, at time of pitch - NOT closer to home plate;  it is not necessary  to continually, chit-chat with base coaches…
    • Incident Reports: the number is trending downward: continue to be prudent & precise in your Reports--we can see some positive change in coaching and player behavior. Our role is to stay the course…

    We are having a fine season, thanks to your commitment and passion to your craft: scrutinized pressure, fan interest and media attention has never been greater--and you are responding very well to that pressure.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/16/2017

    One month in…

    As I mentioned at our NCAA Regional Umpire Clinics, 2017 will be an intensely-challenging year for college baseball.

    Much baseball data has been received, reviewed and analyzed:  "stay diligent, stay accountable to the stakeholder opportunities of impactful  baseball leadership."

    Next up-- let's self assess, self evaluate to a few of the Regional Advisors' observations-one month in:

    -Strike zones have been good, some umpires going  too wide, improve on the high strike
    -Umpires have been approachable and professional
    -Umpires appear to more fit-both physically & mentally
    -Too many umpire still struggle with pause, read, react-slow down!
    -Need to get out  on fly balls; take the appropriate angle
    -Address the coaches who are well out of the coaches' box
    -Overall mechanics have been very good with few mistakes
    -Umpiring has been very good for so early in the season

    The continued expectation is to improve from the observations noted herein; as well as a  Crew Chief's observation(s). Often times, the separators  are the little things, observation in, observation out…

    The recent online rules test was taken by 2,296 umpires, with a passing rate of 93.7%. I encourage you to spend a little time on the test review. Our Home Plate landing page is an impressive and refreshed mix of Video Bulletins, Quizzes, Training Videos, Rule Interpretations & Clarifications;  Articles by Regional Advisors/Umpires, Wellness updates--Home Plate embodies our get-better agenda…

    Remember the privilege and your Coordinators' expectations as conference play rolls in: pitchers are making the adjustments, formal warnings have helped, listen, keep things simple, quietly reinforce  respect  with learned phraseology, 'in my  judgment, followed by a  validated rule statement--stay disciplined--you have all the leadership  tools.

    Finally, appreciate the very good work to date, have fun, work hard, travel safe.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 2/16/2017

    Time to Shine

    The four  NCAA Regional Umpire Clinics have come and gone; the testing period has concluded--a new rules year, protocol and phraseology-will now move quickly from theory-to-practice.

    …a formal thank you to the Stakeholders:  umpires, coaches, coordinators, administrators, Baseball Umpire Program personnel, NCAA Committees and  staff --for the passion-- for the tireless hours of preparation, and  for the behind-the-scenes grind in making these four weekends developmentally-charged , yet, seamless in their design.

    -Thank you everyone for a great 2016
    -Work to make 2017 a better year yet-self evaluate and focus on a couple new initiatives
    -Official warning verbiage; prolonged arguing definition
    -Follow the National Program: our job is to select the best 96 not the 96 best
    -Always do what is right and what is defendable

    Embrace the Stakeholder opportunities which lie ahead…

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 12/12/2016

    Thank you.

    As we begin the 2017 Baseball Season, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and offer encouragement for the new season. College Baseball has never been more exciting, and I know you are eager to get after it…

    2016 was a success; college baseball umpiring is in very good shape--all due to the diligent hard work of all the Coordinators, Officials, Regional Advisors and Conference Commissioners. On behalf of the Baseball Umpire Program: Thank you.

    Thank you for your registration via the Baseball Website. When you receive your Welcome Packet, stay the course with your get better agenda--absorbing all that the Central Hub has to offer.

    Regarding 2017: I challenge you to approach every game as another opportunity to excel at your craft; I encourage your efforts with focused nutrition and consistent conditioning; remember, much can be accomplished when personal goals are set in these health and wellness related components.

    The time-away sacrifices are many in this business, but the reward is impressive-having the opportunity to experience the popularity of college baseball.

    A special thank you to Ron Sebastian for his selfless devotion to the Baseball Umpire Program these past 10 years( thank you, Ron). In addition, I would like to welcome Mr. Scott Taylor, Division II National Coordinator and Mr. Scott Erby, Southeast Regional Advisor.

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas--see you in Anaheim or Chicago or Atlanta or Baltimore.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you.

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 11/30/2016

    We are excited about the new season -- please visit the Home Plate Hub frequently to stay current on the latest Baseball Umpiring news and information.

    Via the Home Plate page, you will be able to read the latest rules interpretations from the Secretary-Rules Editor, bulletins from the National Coordinator; review development -focused articles from conference coordinators, regional advisors and umpires; complete your requirements for postseason consideration, and review videos of recurring plays and how they are to be officiated.

    Registration for the 2017 season is now available. To register, click the Registration Tab at the top of the page.  Please note there is an increase in this year's officials' registration fees, which are $140 for Division I and $120 for Divisions II and III.

    New this year, the NCAA is initiating a basic level background check on all officials registered in the following NCAA sports:  Baseball, Softball, Water Polo, Wresting, and Ice Hockey.  Officials will authorize a background check as part of this year’s officials’ registration process.  The background check process that has been in place in previous seasons for championship level officials will continue.  Basic level background checks for the remaining NCAA sports will begin in the 2017-18 season. 

    This year's Welcome Packet includes the 2017 CCA Baseball Umpires Manual; 2017 & 2018 NCAA Baseball Rule Book. 

    The NCAA Preseason Rules test will be open on the Testing Tab, January 30, 2017 and remain open until February 14, 2017. The online rules video will be available on the Video Tab after the conclusion of the 2017 NCAA Regional Umpire Clinics. Searchable Rules are available by clicking on the Rules Book Tab.

    Thank you for choosing to register with the NCAA; if you have any ideas or suggestions for improvement, please email me at georged@autoporter.com.

    Have a fabulous season!

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 9/19/2016

    Since the end of June, I have had the privilege to attend clinics, meetings, media sessions and other events--which really indicate college baseball, 2017. What is clear to me from these experiences is that college baseball is in very good shape…

    Wherever the development opportunity is presenting  itself: Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana,  Louisiana, California, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia-just to name a few states … Let me take this opportunity to say thank you and offer encouragement to your commitment to making yourself a better official.

    I truly commend all involved in what is truly a labor of love-spending much time, passion  and effort to craft a get better agenda:  clinicians, instructors and attendees, alike.

    Much is underway  for college baseball,  2017:  Clinics, Camps, Rule Books, Preseason Guides, CCA Manuals, Videos, Umpire Clinics, NCAA Registration and more…

    We'll all  getting after it--keep working hard--there is a challenging avocation ahead in 2017--I challenge you to see this as another opportunity to simply, excel.

    In baseball,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 5/12/2016

    What we have been waiting for…

    …It is hard-to-believe that we are nearly through the regular season; I want to express my appreciation for the Coordinators and umpires' efforts to date: all-in-all, long-view, here, thousands and thousands of games played-not to mention weather, travel, the art of balance… bottom line: very few issues, & pretty darn good work. Thank you.  In my April Notes, I briefly mentioned the phrase, body of work, … frankly, it's that time: what do my Coordinators think of my body of work?... what do coaches, regional advisors, observers, evaluators think as well?

    As I continue…congratulations to all the umpires who will have the wonderful opportunity to umpire in a Conference Tournament--understand the importance; the confidence your Coordinator has in you--as he well knows--the friendliness of coaches and teams change at this time: much at stake with this word, postseason-for all of us. Just stay the course with our get better agenda-your season-long efforts  for your Coordinator will show and prove itself, again--finally, please remember-- may will never get to where you are; you have the opportunity to mentor, attraction v. promotion.

    The month of May just  loads-up  &  reloads  with  exciting college baseball, a focused yet pensive time for everyone  involved with college baseball-- this  will all show itself and the wait will be over soon: Appleton, Cary, Omaha…

    ...300 plus games attended, 265 different umpire evaluations, 800 plus evaluations posted (18 criteria form) many, many  more additional partial evaluations (from 150 TV games viewed)--if you are fortunate to be selected, you represent the brotherhood with your appearance, actions, demeanor and performance. These games receive much more attention, savor the atmosphere, the selfless opportunity, once again, to mentor…

    Stay the course: review our Central Hub--with its videos, articles, Bulletins, You Make the Call # 4, Quiz # 2,  Rules Interpretations.

    I sincerely hope everyone had a blessed and reflective Mother's Day, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Dan Pedersen and  family.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 4/13/2016

    Reflections & Reality…

    …Early January, in Music City, USA, I  addressed the Head Coaches regarding the efforts required to cleanse this great game of college baseball; these comments were immediately followed by our video, crafted by Randy Bruns and Tom Hiler-- straight-forward, targeting HBP, Plays at the Plate, Ejections…

    1. Head Coaches are not coming on the field every time a batter gets hit by pitch, now-- the word, intentionally has improved consistency & understanding.  2. Very few violent collisions at home plate--safety is paramount: must slide, give up, avoid.  3.  this is your warning.. has been a positive step in reducing  Head Coach ejections thus far…

    Postseason protocol was initiated at our recent April 6 Coordinator Conference Call-- a prudent time to reflect, self evaluate:  how has my body of work been thus far?   

    As I have been out and about, I always try to grab a moment with the Head Coaches--I listen… hand them a card--listen, ask them for some video…and, finally, umpiring always is mentioned….  attitude (just like in 2015)- next comes: communication, approachability, mobility, confidence… Thank you, Coach.

    Reflection: it is critically important that collegiate baseball umpires understand the expectation of working hard, enforcing the rules as written and working as a team to do the best job possible when umpiring.  Reality: Coaches today are under the microscope just like umpires to perform. 

    Reflectionjust be mindful of the amount of  intense preparation involved in this business of baseball--long before umpires arrive on site to work a game.  Reality: The entire season for these teams is compressed into a handful of intense weekend series--preparation and anticipation are drivers to the pressure to win these series… 

    As I watch baseball, in-person (preferred) or Televised, Streamed- I reflect upon what the Regional Advisors and Coordinators have made comment on, all opinions and perceptions, noted--suddenly become reality- inclusive of charting pitches, appearance, proper position/angles, mobility, crew communication, pre-pitch readiness--did we get the play correct?  the reality of being focused just keeps presenting itself…

    All-in-all:  I am pleased to say that there is some very good umpiring happening: thank you; and thank you to Randy Bruns, Tom Hiler -for their endless efforts with responding to each and every rule or play inquiry, interpretation or mechanism-- via prudent Baseball Umpire program Memorandums & Statements.  As always, stay present and accountable to our get better agenda… peruse, study & review the Central Hub often.

    In closing, be mindful of staying focused-- this mental preparation has separated umpiring quality to date-no doubt; stay unflappable-stay focused, don't take anything for granted,--prepare yourself: mentally, physically-- there's more pressure coming…

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/16/2016

    We are gettin' after it…

    …and gettin' off to a  positive NCAA baseball beginning…

    First off, thank you to the Coordinators-for your superb efforts associated with the newly-imposed Neutral Site assigning policies: well done. Secondly, to the umpires: with  more-and-more games televised, available to view, anywhere, even at any time, now--we are witnessing  solid umpiring to date, a quiet appreciation, men,  of all that is balanced prior to taking to the diamond: keep up the great efforts, thank you.

    Please review Randy Brun's  Rule interpretations posted on Home Plate. Equally, our Regional Advisors have been out and about observing, some 50 some odd games, thus far; here are a few Regional Advisor reminders:

    re-emphasize the 90 second rule--get the hitter in the box--don't let music dictate pace; consistent HBP enforcement, consistently getting the strike at the top of the strike zone; not calling unhittable pitches,  manage the safety V as it pertains to the on-deck hitter, continue the work to master: pause, read react, keep coaches in the box, need to get the  coaches go back to the dugout when getting together; be ready to officiate the second play--stay focused every pitch…pre-pitch signals are too important to pass up, presence is perception-- good hustle-many umpires in better condition than ever. 'No slippage: some very good umpiring --with some very good baseball and top-ranked teams playing each other.'

    The recent  online rules test was taken by 2,261 umpires with a passing rate of 93%.  As reminder, please spend a little time on the test review; in addition, Home Plate is continually refreshed with some really good articles, the all-inclusive Game Officials Manual, Tom Hiler's Video Bulletins and more. Finally,  as mentioned at all the NCAA Umpire Clinic-- regarding the urge for attention via Social Media--we are not in the look at me business…

    As the month of March rolls-on, baseball suddenly takes on a different level of importance --just remember the privilege of the opportunity ; take the time  to relax, focus, support, self-evaluate. Remember, warnings  are helpful tools , but if you happen to have an Incident--take care of business-communicate with your Coordinator, file the precise  Report via www.ncaabaseball.arbitersports.com. Have fun, travel safe, enforce the rules as written--just stay the course with gettin' after it…

    Finally, Dick Runchey's 1 year anniversary of his stroke has not gone unnoticed--Dick has recovered 95%--our continued  thoughts and prayers are with you, our baseball brother.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 2/16/2016

    It is time…

    …The 2016 NCAA Umpire Clinics have concluded--I am humbly  grateful to our selfless fellowship for their preparation, production and ultimate accomplishment of, simply speaking-- and no easy task-- an astounding,  educationally-charged get better atmosphere.

    A special Thank you to Darrin, John, Paul, Tony, Mike, Dave, Dan, Tom, Jim, Rich-- for your support and for strongly urging  your staffs to attend; to Tom Hiler, Randy Bruns, and to all the Breakout Session Umpire-Presenters and Panelists--for your enthusiasm, candor, wisdom and insight into  the attractiveness of leadership.

    As I write this, the testing period is over, too; the games are here, and we are on to the business of College Baseball…

    …just get after it, stay the course-- targeting that  get better agenda --challenge yourself:  game-in/game-out…and concurrently, a thank you to all who have registered with the NCAA --you have access to everything baseball: enjoy!

    The 2016 season: investing to accountability--now is that time: first and foremost-have fun, be safe, enjoy the opportunities-take care of business--you will be supported for enforcing the rules as written.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 12/10/2015

    Let's Review…

    2015 was a fine season, thanks to your commitment to your craft. You and your Coordinators continue to show great passion for this game we love so very much;  the work we do is difficult, and I believe that fact  is being appreciated more and more by the media and the general public.

    Increased pressure, big business fan interest, media attention--all this means that the scrutiny of our industry has never been greater--you responded very well, all-in-all, to that pressure.

    Thank you for your registration via the Baseball Website; a prudent next step to a get better agenda. When you receive your Welcome Packet, let me encourage you to keep up the very good work in investing the time in studying the collateral, honing your craft, absorbing all that the Central Hub has to offer week by week.

    Stay the course with better nutrition, consistent strength conditioning, flexibility and recovery focus--you can accomplish much in a determined and focused 2 plus months--set personal goals--February 19 is not far away-challenge yourself to be a better-conditioned umpire in 2016.

    Regarding goals: what are they for 2016?  Set them-strive for them-achieve them:  do all the little things necessary with the opportunities given-get after it!

    I know the sacrifices you make, the taking time away from your faith, your families, your business--but the reward is there--we are all truly blessed to be a part of the popularity of this great game of college baseball.

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful  Christmas--see you in Nashville or Palo Alto or Chicago or Baltimore.

    A humble privilege to be of service to you,


    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 9/25/2015

    Many thanks for the Umpire Camps and Clinics this summer and fall across this great country--I have been fortunate to attend a few thus far; needless to say, there is much superb and passionate instruction and some very impressive umpiring--men, this is very, very exciting as we begin 2016…

    No one knows better than I what a difficult and challenging avocation college umpiring is, but at the same time, as recently witnessed and reinforced at these camps and clinics--how rewarding umpiring can be for a multitude of reasons.

    The Video world is exploding, more and more is being utilized for development and educational purposes--you will see more and more at the NCAA Umpire Clinics, Home Plate and throughout the year…

    Under my direction of this program, we will always utilize available video for educational purposes.  I know at times this is sensitive-- as no one wants to be seen in a video doing something less than perfect, but this is how we learn and grow as collegiate umpires.  The best advice I can offer is to always work hard every pitch of every game as you never know who is watching (what fan is recording something for social media) or what is being recorded.  If something happens on the field that we can all learn from, let's use that video and make it an educational opportunity for everyone.  

    Finally, I commend all the instructors for this passion of giving back and for the commitment to making yourself a better umpire.

    In baseball,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 5/6/2015

    What a special time…

    …nothing like the Post-Season --just the very mention of this word evokes, to some: nervous anticipation-a sense of intensity, excitement,  hopefulness-- all of which means, has my body of work  been good enough?

    And, to some others: Post-Season evokes the very best of college baseball -across-all divisions: Conference Tournaments, Regional Tournaments, National Championships; then more Regional Tournaments, then Super Regional weekend; finally, the College World Series.

    I want to start by saying  a very special congratulations to all of the umpires who will have the wonderful opportunity to work  in a Conference Tournament--as we know, the seemingly friendliness of teams and coaches we might have experienced earlier in the Conference  dissipates  quickly this long weekend--keep up the very good work for your Conference Coordinator-many will never get to where you are; many may never have the opportunity--savor it!

    Next up Post-Season:  Instant Replay will be used at the Super Regional site(s)-- plays that are reviewable via the NCAA Baseball Playing Rules will be reviewed at a national instant-replay command center and the outcome of the review will be relayed to the crew chief via a headset on the playing field.

    As Post-Season Selection Meeting day(s) draw closer, the data on umpires to disseminate is very thorough: Coordinator rankings, evaluations, technology/video/Television, Regional Advisor evaluations/files, historical analysis, in-person game observations, inclusive--all of which, will, undoubtedly have its share of  disagreements, arguments,  but all will be prudently resolved for recommendation  to Baseball Committee(s).

    All  Post-Season assignments should represent effort, attitude, hustle, professionalism, ability to handle situations and adherence to NCAA policies. These games receive much attention, increased media coverage; everyone is truly watching; and as mentioned earlier--savor the atmosphere; the opportunity to mentor those at home.  Bottom line: If you are fortunate to be selected--you represent the brotherhood with your appearance, demeanor, actions and performance-- thank you, Post-Season.

    In closing,  I ask that you review Tom Hiler's  Videos and Video Bulletins, complete  Quiz # 4, take note of Jim's May Rules Interpretations.

    Mother's Day
    is Sunday; have a great month of May!

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 4/13/2015

    Hard-to-believe…

    …It's mid-April, already, seems not-so-long ago, I had the opportunity to address the Head Coaches in Orlando regarding the efforts required by all the proverbial stakeholders to make progress in drastically reducing the ejections and suspensions which have plagued this great game of college baseball the past couple of years.

    For the record: the numbers of incidents, ejections and suspensions are significantly down thus far.

    I do know this: that umpires have improved their attitudes in assisting, diffusing, humanizing--this masterful component--at all critical times-- when calmness truly conquers combativeness on our part.  And,  Oh, before I forget--our part is what really matters during  these chaotic and, often, one-sided situational conversations…

    I mentioned attitude earlier--as I have been out and about with the Regional Advisors, I always try to grab a moment with the Head Coaches, either in their office, the dugout, leaning against the turtle during BP, or even after the game--to  introduce myself, talk smart, take a little heat-- you know, 'I listen to their concerns,' …I take notes, hand them a card--ask them for some video--I'll take anything, I say; then I ask …tell me, Coach, what trait do you take notice of--more than any other with an umpire?...  first thing out of their mouth:  in  some way, shape or form--is attitude.

    The business exposure of college baseball is at an all-time high regarding the number of games accessible to the viewing  public via ESPN, CBS, Fox Networks, Conference-specific networks, internet streaming, even mobile device APPs…

    As I watch (some 45 games, or so-already), I form opinions and perceptions: inclusive of charting pitches, appearance, proper position/angles, mobility, crew communication, pre-pitch readiness, et al…

    I am pleased to say that there is some very good umpiring going on: Thank you.  And, Thank you to Tom Hiler, Jim Paronto-for their tireless efforts with responding to each and every rule or play inquiry-- and for issuing prudent/official  Baseball Umpire Program statement(s) thus far to all the issues,  concerns formulated by Head Coaches, Umpires, Coordinators and Administrators.

    In closing, be mindful of the little things-such as attitude, stay the course with our get better agenda; don't take anything for granted, all of which is preparing you  for the excitement and intense grind the next few weeks which conference play undoubtedly has in store for us--savor it, have fun, too!

    For  file-- I ask that you review Tom Hiler's Videos and Video Bulletins, complete Quiz # 2, take note of Jim's April Rules Interpretations.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 3/12/2015

    We are off and running…

    …to a very good 2015 start to NCAA Baseball.

    First off, much appreciation goes to the efforts of the Coordinators and Umpires--with all the early-season trials and tribulations associated with weather-related site, time, date changes; and how all this truly affects our profession.

    Trust me, many people lose sight of how umpires balance their faith, family, business into a seamless finished product of fair/foul, out/safe, /ball strike--as witnessed at games, or via Television, I-Pads, Computers. Bottom line, superb efforts, men, all facets: commendable, impressive…

    Please review Jim Paronto's February and March Rule interpretations posted on Home Plate. Equally, our Regional Advisors have been out and about observing, some 40 some odd games, thus far; here are a few reminders for file:

    re-emphasize the 90 second rule, consistently at 110 seconds without any warnings .  manage the safety V as it pertains to the on deck hitter . pause, read react, better-especially in 3 man system .  pre-pitch signals are too important to pass up . not getting set for catch, no catch .  rotations missed due to not reading partners'  keys .  process the pitch: plate umpires too quick on balls/strikes .  presence is perception--many umpires in better condition than ever before.

    To sum up: Some very good umpiring for being this early in the season. Good umpiring with some very good baseball and top-ranked teams playing each other.  Handling situations and being professional have been very good. Off to a good start.

    The recent  online rules test was taken by 1982 umpires with a passing rate of 89%. As reminder, please spend a little time on the test review; in addition, Home Plate has been refreshed with some really good articles, a dedicated Wellness Section, the Game Officials Manual, Videos and more--enhance your knowledge;  and, before I forget--regarding technology's double-edge sword:  Social Media-- the perils thereof- mentioned at all the NCAA Umpire Clinics,  ' you are expressly prohibited from using Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) to communicate umpiring assignments, information about other umpires or Conference Staff; and/or any commentary about student athletes, coaches, institutions.'

    As the weather improves and the temperatures rise--everything will intensify as Conference weekend series begin--remember the privilege of the assignment; take time  to relax, focus, support, self-evaluate. If you happen to have an Incident--take care of business-communicate with your Coordinator, file the precise  Report via ncaabaseball.arbitersports.com. Have fun, travel safe, enforce the rules as written--just stay the course with our get better agenda.

    Please keep Dick Runchey's health and his recovery from a recent stroke in your thoughts and prayers.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires

  • 2/11/2015

    Ramping up…

    The 2015 NCAA Umpire Clinics have concluded--many people to say thank you to--for helping produce an engaged atmosphere and an overall positive experience for the record number (near 1800) of Clinic attendees

    Thank you to the Coordinators for encouraging your staffs to attend, to the Regional Advisors for setting up the Panels; to the Panelists--for your candor, wisdom and insight into  the attractiveness of leadership; now, Emily-for her first class Venue(s) efforts  and the hospitality shown to the umpires from vendors and Hotel staff. Thank you, Tom Hiler- for your tireless preparations, videos, PowerPoint(s); impactful instructional messages. And, to you, the NCAA umpires--for your time, talents, thank you!

    Thank you, again, Jim Paronto, for your service, blessings.

    As I write this, the testing period is over, too; games have started, and we are on to making it happen…Please utilize the Home Plate often-Video section for Clinic refresh, rule diligence and mental preparation; Articles as well-really great material for pregame, personal reflection, self-evaluation.

    Regarding video-especially with the number of televised games: crew chiefs, please follow with your Coordinator regarding this clip/play for our development utilization. Thank you to all the NCAA members via ncaabaseball.arbitersports: over 2000 and growing--you have access to everything: just dig in!

    The 2015 season is here--attraction v. promotion: just take care of business, give back, support, hold accountable,  enforce the rules as written.

    My humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 12/12/2014

    Just checking back in…

    …really exciting time for us--many new rules, flat seam baseballs, instant replay advances, all that and more--and  in a short 60 days, many will be back on the diamond for the 2015 NCAA baseball season.

    Thank you for your registration via the Baseball Website; truly a positive next step to a get better agenda.

    When you receive your Welcome Packet, use the month of December to read/study the 2015 & 2016 Rules Book and the 2015 CCA Mechanics Manual. Get the highlighter out, write-in the margins, take copious notes relative to the new rules and mechanics. Jot down any questions you might have for Tom Hiler or Jim Paronto as well. Believe me, if you study diligently, you will have much confidence when (not if) the challenges present themselves in this business.

    Soon, our Wellness partner, Walters, Inc., will be incorporating our Home Plate page with a dedicated Umpire Wellness section.(hydration/nutrition, flexibility-injury prevention, aids to travel, proper positioning to prevent injuries[slot], medical concerns: concussion, etc).

    With this said, get after it: with better nutrition, consistent strength conditioning, flexibility and recovery focus--you can accomplish much in a determined and focused 2 months --challenge yourself to be a better-conditioned umpire in 2015.

    As mentioned, earlier, February 13 is not far away--maybe a prudent time to get the gear out, ask Santa for some of the more-advanced protective and supportive equipment available now--you know the adage, look good, feel good

    Boundless networking opportunities exist for cage work, situations/scrimmages on our college campuses across this great country. All baseball programs welcome and appreciate these efforts-whether inside or outside.

    I want to wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas-- see you in Orlando or Phoenix or Chicago or Baltimore.

    A humble privilege to be of service to you,

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

     

  • 10/31/2014

    We are excited about the new season and look forward to the many opportunities to communicate important baseball information with you via the NCAA Baseball Umpire Central Hub.

    Please visit the Home Plate Hub frequently to stay current on the latest Baseball Umpiring news and information.

    Via the Home Plate page, you will be able to read the latest rules interpretations from the Secretary-Rules Editor, with development -focused articles from conference coordinators, regional advisors and umpires;  review video clips, take periodic rules and mechanics quizzes-- even complete the online examination and requirements for post season consideration. Searchable Rules are available by clicking on the Rules Book Tab.

    Registration for the 2015 season is now open and available on the Registration Tab at the top of the page.

    This year's Welcome Packet includes the 2015 CCA Baseball Umpires Manual and 2015 and 2016 NCAA Baseball Rule Book.  We will receive the new CCA Manuals at the end of November, so Welcome Packets are expected to begin shipping at the beginning of December.

    The NCAA Preseason Rules test will be open on the Testing Tab on January 26 and remain open until February 9. The online rules video will be available on the Video Tab after the conclusion of the Umpire Clinics.

    Thank you for choosing to register with the NCAA; if you have any ideas or suggestions for improvement, please email me at george@autoporter.com.

    Have a fabulous season!

    George M. Drouches
    NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

  • 11/3/2011

    OCTOBER 2010

    Greetings! It seems as if the 2010 NCAA baseball championships have just ended and yet here we are in full preparation for the 2011 season. As a whole the umpiring at the championship level this past spring was outstanding. This fall, the final touches are being added to the new 2011-2012 NCAA baseball rule bookMore...

  • 2/15/2010

    February 2010

    Greetings and welcome to the start of the 2010 NCAA baseball season. Many of our umpires have begun the season and many will soon with the Division I start date of February 19.

    The NCAA Umpire clinics went very well with excellent topics discussed which should assist every umpire during the season. Almost 1,600More...

 
 
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