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Old Tue Mar 19, 2019, 08:29am
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Location: Rockville,MD
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What Levels Use 3-Umpire Mechanics?

I'm curious to know what levels of softball use 3-umpire mechanics on a consistent basis. High school has 3-umpire mechanics in the manual, unless I'm mistaken, but high school umpires only use 3 umpires in the playoffs. Junior college is the same way, AFAIK, because the camps that umpires go to to get into are all 2-umpire camps.

Do the lower NCAA divisions use 3 umpires for regular season games? If so, I might try to continue my softball umpire career at that level. Do any USA Softball events or other travel tournaments use 3 umpires?

It would be interesting to actually get consistent 3-umpire experience, because each of the 3 umpires has equal responsibilities with the others (U1 and U3 make fair-foul and catch-no catch decisions on the lines from the front edge of their respective base, they also have catch-no catch responsibilities, and they perform rotations, in addition to making calls on baserunners.), instead of the lone 1st base umpire being a glorified rabbit who just calls safe and out (with the occasional chase of a trouble ball from A position) and the plate umpire having the lion's share of the calls (all catch-no catch, most fair-foul (some plate umpires usurp all fair-foul responsibilities), calls on runners at 3rd base, and balls and strikes) in the 2-umpire system.
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Old Tue Mar 19, 2019, 11:39am
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Location: Fremont, NH
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I cannot speak to college ball since I don't work it.

There are very few USA tournament games in my area that utilize a 3-ump system. Virtually none, actually. We've discussed it a few times, but it seems to lack traction. The biggest issue is cost of the other umpire. I've suggested that we work 3-ump games while only charging the TDs for 2 umpires, but a lot of umpires are simply not willing to take a "pay cut". A few years back, I worked tournaments as either U1 or U3 for free with some willing partners just for the experience. Since it was a showcase tournament, rules were somewhat relaxed and coaches were a bit more laid back.

As a result, we don't have a lot of umpires who are comfortable with 3-ump system.

For NFHS games, we do use 3-ump system once we get to quarter-final and above games. We do have a better pool of umpires to utilize, and many are also USA umpires.

It's a nice system once you get the hang of it. But working with an inexperienced partner can cause problems. Folks need to learn, though.
USA & NFHS Softball
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Old Tue Mar 19, 2019, 04:14pm
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Northeast Nebraska
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Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
Do the lower NCAA divisions use 3 umpires for regular season games? If so, I might try to continue my softball umpire career at that level. Do any USA Softball events or other travel tournaments use 3 umpires?
The American Rivers Conference (NCAA D3) works all games 3-man, starting this season. I'm not aware of any others in my corner of the country that do so (ignoring D1 conferences). USA works three-man for every game at Gold Nationals, and often in the later rounds of 16/18U A/B nationals.

3 person mechanics is a 50% increase in umpire cost, so many conferences and youth tournaments are reluctant to switch to it. Like Tru, I worked a lot of Juco and HS games for free as the third umpire to get more games in...and always with the blessing of the assigner. I've also worked 10U rec ball 3-man, so my daughter (a new umpire) could get a taste of it. Nothing better than a nine-year old F5 asking my why I was standing behind her.
Powder blue since 1998. Longtime forum lurker.
Umpiring Goals: Call the knee strike accurately (getting the low pitch since 2017)/NCAA D1 postseason/ISF-WBSC Certification/Nat'l Indicator Fraternity(completed)
"I'm gonna call it ASA for the foreseeable future. You all know what I mean."

Last edited by teebob21; Tue Mar 19, 2019 at 04:18pm.
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Old Sat Mar 23, 2019, 03:01pm
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Southwest Missouri
Posts: 669
In Missouri, we go three man from district championship through the end. Iíve always thought it was silly to not have it until then. How are you supposed to get any experience doing it? Studying book can only get you so far
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Old Sat Mar 23, 2019, 10:54pm
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,062
The University Athletic Association is NCAA Div. III that uses 3-Person crew for regular season conference games.

MTD, Sr.
Mark T. DeNucci, Sr.
Trumbull Co. (Warren, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Wood Co. (Bowling Green, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Ohio Assn. of Basketball Officials
International Assn. of Approved Bkb. Officials
Ohio High School Athletic Association
Toledo, Ohio
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