The Massachusetts Baseball Coach’s Association (MBCA) in conjunction with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has recently announced a mutual, official position on the adoption of new baseball bat standards for 2011 and beyond.
On September 14, 2010 the MIAA Board of Directors voted to follow the baseball bat standards established by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee:
“Effective beginning the 2010-11 school year, composite bats shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e).”
A list of composite bats that are approved by the NFHS for the 2011 season (as of December 1, 2010), can be found here at: http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=4155.
NFHS Rule 1-3-2(d) Through December 31, 2011, each aluminum bat shall meet the Ball Exit-Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. No [non-permanent] BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bat.
NFHS Rule 1-3-2(e) Beginning January 1, 2012, all bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum and composite bats shall be labeled as approved tamper evident, and be marked as to being aluminum or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.
For additional information, please reference the NFHS Baseball page: http://www.nfhs.org/baseball.aspx.
The following describes the official position of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association (MBCA) regarding baseball bats for the 2011 and 2012 seasons:
- For the 2012 season, adopt the new BBCOR standard. Also reject a proposal to ban non-wood bats.
- For the 2011 season, continue with current Bat of Choice rule, which allows any wood or non-wood BESR-certified bat, including non-wood composite bats.
- The BBCOR standard has come into effect because of the NCAA’s concern with the offensive output in college baseball. It should be noted that offense, not health and safety has prompted this change. The NCAA will use the BBCOR standard in 2011 and the NFHS is adopting it for 2012. The MBCA believes this is the most logical option for Mass. high school baseball, as well. Although the MBCA is very satisfied with the current BESR standard, BESR bats are likely to no longer be manufactured after 2011; only BBCOR bats will be available in the future. Thus, the MBCA recommended that the MIAA adopt the BBCOR standard for 2012.
- In addition, the MBCA also strongly opposes the proposal to ban all non-wood bats. The MIAA has considered and rejected this same proposal time and time again over the last eight years. Therefore, the MBCA asks that MIAA committees and the MIAC reject the proposal once again. Since the BBCOR standard will produce bats that perform identically to wood, those who have had concern with either offensive output or safety with non-wood bats should be pleased with the BBCOR rule. The reason to not simply use wood bats going forward is the same as why the MIAA adopted non-wood bats in 1974: the BBCOR bats, which will be much less expensive than the current BESR bats, will be of better quality, more affordable, and more durable than wood bats.
- The MBCA supports continuation of the BESR standard for 2011, as this standard has worked very well for Mass. high school baseball throughout its existence. The MBCA sees no reason, particularly for health and safety, that would necessitate an emergency rule change for 2011 (which is a non-rule change year for MIAA). The NFHS has banned non-wood composite bats because of concern with illegal tampering (including “rolling”) that can make those bats perform above the BESR standard. The MBCA has seen no evidence of such tampering in Mass. high school baseball and has no safety or injury issues with composite bats. Considering that adoption of the BBCOR rule in 2012 will require all member schools to discard current BESR bats and purchase all new bats for their varsity, JV, and freshman teams, it is both unfair and a needless expense to require those same schools to discard the composite bats that they currently own and replace them with new purchases this year.
The MBCA position is consistent with the MIAA’s commitment to keeping baseball safe,competitive, and enjoyable for players, coaches and fans.
Note: As of October 21, 2010 the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee and the MIAA Baseball Committee have both supported the MBCA position and have voted against banning non-wood bats.