NCAA Approves Regular-Season Bat Testing

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved in-season bat testing for all NCAA baseball schools.

Starting in 2020, NCAA Division I schools will be required to have bat testing during the season.

NCAA Division II and III institutions will be required to start bat testing beginning with the 2021 season.

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee previously recommended that bat testing take during the season to eliminate illegal, doctored bats. 

The reason for the 1-year delay for NCAA Division II and III schools is to give those institutions time to purchase equipment to conduct testing which currently costs around $1,400.

Bats will be tested before the first game of every series, or mid-week single game, to ensure they are legal and haven’t been tampered with.

Then special tamper proof stickers will be placed on those bats.

Thanks to successful experimental bat testing by the Southeastern Conference the past three seasons and the Missouri Valley Conference in 2017, a substantial body of evidence is now in place which virtually eliminates bat tampering with these testing devices.

After bats were tested prior to every SEC and Missouri Valley Conference game last season, special tamper proof stickers were put on bats that made them legal for that series.

Once the next conference series was set to begin, a new round of testing took place as approved bats were given new stickers with different colors.

Bat testing is already taking place during the post-season NCAA playoffs in each division.

During a 2017 NCAA Rules presentation for NCAA Division I, II and III coaches at last January’s American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Anaheim, Calif., Elvis Dominguez, chairman of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee, said that an unusually high number of people reported illegal bats being used during the 2016 season which alarmed the Rules Committee.

“I was on the NCAA Rules Committee back in 2008 when we began formulating plans to use the current BBCOR specification bats on the market,” said Dominguez.

“Once the regulations went into effect for these bats, we thought the problem of high performance bats was over. But during the 2016 season, the Rules Committee got more calls than we ever expected on players utilizing illegal bats that had been rolled or had the barrels shaved for more trampoline effect.

“In some cases, you were seeing 6-7 batters from the same team using the exact same bat which is a telltale sign that an illegal bat was being used.

“When we got to the College World Series where bat testing is utilized, a number of bats (20) did not pass and were taken out of play before the CWS started.

“Because of this, we need to test bats well before the College World Series so the right teams make it to Omaha without an illegal advantage.”

 “The biggest concern we have is that bats are being rolled,” said George Drouches, NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires.

Bat rolling is a process that can add significant pop and distance to a baseball bat.

By rolling a bat illegally, unethical people enjoy the bat’s maximum potential from the very first swing without putting all the wear and tear on it.

The bat is placed between two rollers and then pressure is applied so that as the bat passes through the rollers as the bat’s fibers are stretched out.

This causes the fibers to become more flexible which greatly improves the bat’s trampoline effect when balls hit the barrel resulting in increased batted ball speed and distance. It will make the sweet spot bigger and much more consistent as well.

To read more of this story, purchase the Oct. 6, 2017 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.