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Dangerous Softball Collision Has Former Players Demanding a 'Safety Bag' in the NCAA

A dangerous collision in the Austin Regional Final game between Texas and Texas A&M has led to one notable former NCAA softball player calling for a "safety bag" at first base.

Texas A&M outfielder Star Ferguson dove head-first into first base on a ground ball she hit in the second inning against the Longhorns on Sunday. This led to what appeared to be a nasty collision with Texas second baseman Leighann Goode, whose foot slipped on the bag because of wet conditions.

In the wake of the incident, former Oregon All-American infielder Jenna Lilley argued the NCAA should have a "safety bag" at first base to avoid similar collisions.

First Base Collision in Texas-TAMU Regional Game

"First and most importantly, I hope the A&M player is okay," Lilley wrote on Twitter. "This is a prime example of why 1) you don't dive into first base (and it's slower) and 2) we need a safety bag."

First of all, Lilley is absolutely correct about not diving into first base. It's dangerous and doesn't get you there any faster. Secondly, softball absolutely needs a safety bag. For those unfamiliar, it's also known as a "double base" — one for the fielder to step on and one for the runner. Prior to this season, the NCAA actually approved an experimental double-first-base rule to help cut down on collisions at first. Both teams would have to agree to using the base, and it appears the concept didn't make its way to the NCAA Tournament.

This is far from a new issue. Coaches have been calling for a permanent safety base for a while now, and it's a common practice in youth leagues and at the Olympics. Last year, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy made an impassioned plea for it after one of his players plowed into a first baseman. He called it "absolutely ridiculous" that the NCAA hadn't mandated the extra base. Other coaches, like Texas head coach Mike White — who was on hand for this play above — has called the idea a "good thing" in the past.

"I remember a regional we had at home when I was with Oregon against Minnesota with their player [Sara] Groenewegen, who was a hitter and a pitcher, who was in a collision and had a concussion from a throw down the line," White told ESPN in 2022. "I think if you look at baseball, they don't have it, but they have 90 feet. We have only 60 feet. A lot of the players are close. They're bang-bang. I just think it's something that we should bring in."

As for the most recent collision, Ferguson wrote on Twitter that her head hurt but she would've collided with Goode either way.

Regardless of how Ferguson is feeling, a safety base is needed. The only question is, when will the NCAA formally recognize that?

MORE: Dangerous Softball Collision Draws Passionate Plea for Rule Change From Alabama Coach