Altered Bats Used At Alarming
LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Sept. 2, 2011 Edition)
- INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The hammer has finally been dropped on
- Due to numerous reports of non-wood bats
being tampered with to make them higher performing tools in California high school
baseball during the 2011 season, the National Federation of State High
School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee is cracking down.
- Effective with the 2012 high school
baseball season, more responsibility will fall on the shoulders of coaches
to verify bats used by their players are rules-compliant.
- Prior to the start of games, each head
coach must now tell the umpire in-chief that all of his team’s equipment is
in accordance with NFHS rules.
- Such rules include “compliant bats that
are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design and production and
helmets that are free of cracks and damage.”
- Coaches can still ask umpires at the
pre-game conference to confirm that equipment is compliant.
- However, umpires no longer will be
required to perform pre-game equipment checks.
- At its summer meeting in Indianapolis, the
committee also took steps to define a new tamper-evident protocol for
- All changes were subsequently approved by
the NFHS Board of Directors.
- According to Elliot Hopkins, NFHS
assistant director and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee, if an umpire
discovers the hitter using an illegal bat prior to entering the batter’s
box, the bat will be marked so it can’t be used again, and the batter will
simply get a legal bat.
- However, if the hitter steps in the
batter’s box, and the umpire discovers that he is using an illegal bat, then
the bat will be marked and the batter will be ruled out. If the hitter
advances to a base or bases, and the umpire discovers the illegal bat, the
bat will be marked, batter ruled out and any runners will return to their
original bases prior to the at-bat.
- On a first offense, the head coach will
be restricted to the bench/dugout if umpires discover an illegal bat. On a
second offense, the head coach will be ejected. For subsequent violations,
the acting head coach will be tossed. There may be further penalties given
to coaches and players with state associations depending on what their
sportsmanship rules are.
- “The committee is placing a great
importance on increased coach responsibility,” said Hopkins. “It is one of our top priorities.”
Rest Of The Story… includes a response from the Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association, how coaches and umpires plan to deal with the
liability issue and how bat surgeons are breaking federal law by tampering
with registered trademark bats. In addition, Collegiate Baseball
explains the tough regulations that have been put in place for recreational
softball which includes a 3-year suspension for hitters who use doctored
bats and possible assault charges. To read this story in its entirety,
please see the Sept. 2, 2011 issue of Collegiate Baseball. You can
purchase a single copy for $3, which includes postage, or purchase a year’s
subscription for $28 by calling 520-623-4530 M-F from 8-4 MST.)