SPORTS LAW—STEALING SIGNS WITH BINOCULARS, OR OTHER EQUIPMENT, IN AN NCAA BASEBALL GAME IS NOT ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED IN THE RULES: A CASE FOR EXPANDED PENALTIES IN NCAA BASEBALL FOR UNETHICAL AND UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
Stealing signs from the catcher or base coaches in baseball, if done by the naked eye, is not prohibited by the rules of both Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Baseball. Recently, the proliferation of electronic devices such as computers, Apple watches, tablet computers, and television cameras throughout MLB and NCAA ballparks have raised concerns about using these devices to steal signs. In February 2019, it was reported that MLB was amending its rules to strengthen prohibitions for electronic sign stealing. The NCAA also has rules prohibiting the use of video and television cameras to steal signs during baseball games. However, on May 17, 2018 during an NCAA regional playoff game the signs of the catcher of one team were stolen and relayed to the batter of the other team in a manner not contemplated or prohibited by the NCAA rules. This unexpected occurrence of sign stealing raised ethical issues and is contrary to NCAA core values, ethics, and philosophy statements. However, there was no rule directly on point, and the umpires and the tournament committee, who were administering the contest, had no specific rule that allowed them to address the issue. This article discusses the issue of sign stealing in baseball and NCAA and MLB rules. It also addresses the May 17, 2018 game and the issue that presented itself. This article suggests new rules that the NCAA should adopt to ensure that umpires and other NCAA officials can appropriately officiate NCAA baseball games.
James T. Masteralexis and Sharianne Walker, SPORTS LAW—STEALING SIGNS WITH BINOCULARS, OR OTHER EQUIPMENT, IN AN NCAA BASEBALL GAME IS NOT ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED IN THE RULES: A CASE FOR EXPANDED PENALTIES IN NCAA BASEBALL FOR UNETHICAL AND UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT, 42 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 43 (2020), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol42/iss1/3