Baseball Rules Change Puts Moratorium on Composite Bats

09 July 2010

One of six new rules changes by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee forbids the use of composite bats until they can meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard.

The changes, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, will take effect with the 2010-11 school year.

After testing by the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee voted to outlaw composite bats until they can produce consistent results through the life of the bat, be made tamper-evident and be labelled as a composite product.

Elliot Hopkins, NFHS liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee, visited with James Sherwood, director of the Baseball Research Center, and spent several hours witnessing composite bat testing. “Rolling the bat gives it a higher performance,” Hopkins said. “It can significantly increase the performance and that’s huge in our game.”

According to the NFHS, rolling the bat isn’t the only problem. Rolling only speeds up the performance enhancement that would occur over time after normal use, and even composite bats that were not altered will eventually see this increase in performance, and the rules committee viewed that as a major concern.

Under the new rule, bats with composite handles and tapers would still be legal. The stricter language applies primarily to the barrel of the bat.

“While the handles and taper are important components of the bat,” Hopkins said, “the area that we recognized as more susceptible to abuse is the barrel.”

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities.

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