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NFHS 2011 Baseball Rules Changes

NFHS 2011 Baseball Rules Changes

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.  NFHS Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats

After thorough 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 labeled 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.”

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

Rule 1-3-2 through 5 was completely rewritten with the intention of creating a rule that preserves the intent and spirit of the old rule, but is better suited to products resulting from new technology.

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.”

Other rules changes this year aim at increasing convenience for coaches and umpires by simplifying the substitution policy and clarifying several rules.

Rule 1-1-2 now requires coaches to list all known substitutes on the lineup card before the umpire accepts it. Coaches will still be able to add a substitute without a penalty, but this should speed up substitutions and player changes during the game.

A change to Rule 2-16-2 was also made to clarify an existing rule and ease its application for coaches and players. The rule now reads: “A foul tip is a batted ball that goes directly to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught by the catcher. It is a strike and the ball is in play.”

Similarly, a “last-time-by” rule has been instituted. The new rule states that if a runner correctly touches a base that was missed the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous base-running infraction. This last-time-by practice is commonly accepted, but is now legally Rule 8-2-6l.

The last two rules changes were approved on recommendation from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. 

First, in a change to Rule 1-5-8, all hard and unyielding items such as braces, casts, etc., must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than one-half-inch thick. Knee and ankle braces that are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production do not require additional padding.

Second is an update to concussion language that has been added to the rules for all high school sports. The new rule, 3-1-5, puts strict constraints on players who may have suffered a concussion. The rule states that any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, including but not limited to loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion of balance problems, must be removed from the contest immediately and shall not return to play before being cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.

A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Athletics & Fine Arts Activities” on the home page, and select “Baseball.”

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2008-09 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 473,184 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,699 schools sponsoring the sport.

2011 NFHS Rules Changes

Direct Download Link:  NFHS 2011 Baseball Rule Changes

1-1-2 ... Addition: The umpire shall not accept the lineup card until all substitutes are listed. There is no penalty assessed.Rationale: Having all known substitutes listed will speed up substitution and player changes. A coach will still be able to add a substitute to the game with no penalty.

1-3-2 through 1-3-5 ... Effective beginning the 2010-11 school year, composite bats shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e).  NFHS Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats

1-3-2 ... The bat shall have the following characteristics and components.

a. Each legal wood, aluminum or composite bat shall:
1. Be one piece, multi-pieces and permanently assembled, or two pieces with interchangeable barrel construction.
2. Not have exposed rivets, pins, rough or sharp edges or any form of exterior fastener that would present a hazard.
3. Be free of rattles, dents, burrs, cracks and sharp edges. Bats that are broken, altered or that deface the ball are illegal. Materials inside the bat or treatments/devices used to alter the bat specifications and/or enhance performance are prohibited and render the bat illegal.

b. Each legal wood, aluminum or composite bat shall have the following components:
1. Knob. The bat knob shall protrude from the handle. The knob may be molded, lathed, welded or permanently fastened. Devices, attachments or wrappings are permitted except those that cause the knob to become flush with the handle. A one-piece rubber knob and bat grip combination is illegal.
2. Handle. The bat handle is the area of the bat that begins at, but does not include, the knob and ends where the taper begins.
3. Barrel. The barrel is the area intended for contact with the pitch. The barrel shall be round, cylindrically symmetric and smooth. The barrel may be aluminum, wood or composite (made of two or more materials). The type of bat (wood, aluminum or composite) shall be determined by the composition of the barrel.
4. Taper. The taper is an optional transition area which connects the narrower handle to the wider barrel portion of the bat. Its length and material may vary but may not extend more than 18 inches from the base of the knob.
5. End Cap. The end cap is made of rubber, vinyl, plastic or other approved material. It shall be firmly secured and permanently affixed to the end of the bat so that it cannot be removed by anyone other than the manufacturer, without damaging or destroying it. By definition, a one-piece construction bat does not have an end cap.

c. Each bat not made of a single piece of wood shall:
1. Have a safety grip made of cork, tape (no smooth, plastic tape) or commercially manufactured composition material. The grip must extend a minimum of 10 inches, but not more than 18 inches, from the base of the knob. Slippery tape or similar material shall be prohibited. Resin, pine tar or any drying agent to enhance the hold are permitted only on the grip. Molded grips are illegal.
2. Be 2 5/8” or less in diameter at thickest part and 36 inches or less in length.
3. Not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot be less than 30 ounces).

d. (Comment: California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) has chosen to adopt the BBCOR standard beginning January 1, 2011 per Sacramento Bee news released listed below.) 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 BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bat.

e. (Comment: California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) has chosen to adopt the BBCOR standard beginning January 1, 2011 per Sacramento Bee news released listed below.) 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.

f. An aluminum bat meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e) is legal immediately.

g. A composite bat shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e).

1-3-3 . . . A bat made of a single piece of wood may be roughened or wound with tape not more than 18 inches from the handle end of the bat. No foreign substance may be added to the surface of the bat beyond 18 inches from the end of the handle. Each bat made of a single piece of wood shall be:
a. 2¾ inches or less in diameter at the thickest part
b. 36 inches or less in length

1-3-4 . . . Only bats may be used in warming up (including weighted bats used for this purpose) at any location. Only bats and items designed to remain part of the bat, such as weighted bats, batting donuts, and wind-resistant devices are legal at any location.

1-3-5 . . . Bats that are altered from the manufacturer’s original design and production, or that do not meet the rule specifications, are illegal (See 7-4-1a). No foreign substance may be inserted into the bat. Bats that are broken, cracked or dented or that deface the ball, i.e., tear the ball, shall be removed without penalty. A bat that continually discolors the ball may be removed from the game with no penalty at the discretion of the umpire.
Rationale: Recent bat products have circumvented the intent and spirit of the current rule. Improvements in science and technology now allow this change that will require bats to be within performance limits during the life of the bat. In addition, this change will minimize the ability for the bat to be tampered with or altered.

1-5-8 ... Change: Hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, splints, etc.) must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than 1/2" thick. Knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer's original design/production do not require any additional padding.
Rationale: Risk minimization and clarification from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

2-16-2 ... Change: A foul tip is a batted ball that goes directly to the catcher's hands and is legally caught by the catcher. It is a strike and the ball is in play.
Rationale: Clarification and ease of application for the umpires and coaches.

3-1-5 ... New: Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. (See NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions)
Rationale: Clarification from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee

8-2-6l ... New: Last Time By. If a runner correctly touches a base that was missed (either in advancing or returning), the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous base running-infraction.
Rationale: Clarification of a commonly accepted practice.

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CIF approves metal bat standards & encourages protective gear

From the Sacramento Bee Online ...

California high schools face restrictions on metal bats

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
Associated Press Writer
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 - 1:43 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 - 4:30 pm

High school baseball teams in California will have to follow new safety standards for the metal bats they use under rules released Wednesday, in the wake of accidents that brought national attention to the issue of the bats' safety.

The aluminum bats will be tested to limit the speed of the balls they hit and may include a tamper-proof decal that would change color if the bat was modified to improve performance. While in production, the new bats will be broken in to ensure that their performance - the speed balls travel and the amount they bounce - could not be improved over time with wear.

Schools will be required to use the new bats in January if they are available.

The changes came after 16-year-old pitcher Gunnar Sandberg of Marin County suffered a major head injury when he was hit in the head last March by a line drive off a metal bat.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said Wednesday that he will withdraw his proposed two-year moratorium on non-wooden bats for high school baseball teams.

His bill, AB7, sought to ban both aluminum and composite bats until new safety standards were adopted. Huffman said he postponed the bill for months as he worked on safety changes with the California Interscholastic Federation, which sets statewide rules for high school sports.

The new rules released Wednesday will give California a jump start on implementing national standards for aluminum bats, which take effect in 2012.

The CIF announced in July that the composite bats that some high school teams use will also have to meet new national standards. The CIF also will encourage member high schools to require protective headgear for players.

"Safety has always been the top priority, and continues to be the top priority, of the CIF," said Marie Ishida, executive director of CIF.

Sandberg, who was in a coma for weeks following the accident, said Wednesday that he plans to resume playing baseball this season.

"Even though this new protective gear might not look like just wearing a regular hat, I would say that it's definitely worth it, after what I've been through, and after what other kids have been through," he said.

Huffman said many other young people have also suffered similar head injuries.

"Not all have recovered. Some young people have been killed from this very same type of incident: a line drive driven by a performance-enhancing metal bat," he said.

Ishida recommended that those who plan to buy new bats should wait until bats that meet the new standards are available.

Tom Cove, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, said companies are rushing to develop new products to meet the standards.

"There will be bats available, but not enough to sell to the whole market by the beginning of next year," Cove said.

Cove said the changes would make the new metal bats more "wood-like" and take away some of the benefits of composite bats. He said manufacturers do not yet have the technology to create the tamper-proof decals, and he is working with the standard makers to refine that rule.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/11/2952655/calif-will-have-stricter-standa...

From the Los Angeles Times ...

CIF approves metal bat standards, will encourage use of protective gear
August 10, 2010 | 11:37 am

The executive committee of the California Interscholastic Federation approved last week a motion that would require aluminum baseball bats to be used for the 2011 season to meet the new BBCOR performance standards.

It also passed a motion that would mandate the CIF to encourage member schools to voluntarily require protective headgear for baseball and softball infielders and pitchers for the 2011 season, while also proposing to the National Federation of State High School Assn. Baseball and Softball rules committees to develop standards for protective headgear in 2012.

The motions come in response to a pending bill in the State Legislature, AB 7, that would prohibit non-wood bats for the 2011 season. The bill's author, Jared Huffman (D-Marin), had been negotiating with the CIF, so he's expected to withdraw the bill.

College baseball teams are switching to the new BBCOR performance standard next season.

Requiring infielders to wear protective headgear in baseball will not be popular. "As an infielder, I wouldn't want to wear one," Mission Hills Alemany Coach Randy Thompson said. "I could see pitchers wearing a skull cap under the hat."

The actions come after lots of lobbying and publicity in the wake of several injuries suffered last season after balls hit from metal bats struck high school players in the head.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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CIF Baseball Bat Implementation - Q&A ... (updated 10/01/10)

CIF Baseball Bat Implementation
Questions and Answers

C.I.F. Website Direct Link: http://www.cifstate.org/sports/other/baseball.html

CIF BASEBALL BAT IMPLEMENTATION
(UPDATED 10-1-10)

The CIF Executive Committee had a special meeting by conference call and made several decisions which affect the upcoming baseball season. The following are questions that have been asked and our current responses. This information will be updated as necessary on the CIF Web site: cifstate.org.
UPDATE: A list of APPROVED non-wood bats meeting the new BBCOR standards and ABI test will soon be posted on the NFHS Web site. The CIF will have a link to the site as soon as it is available.

NFHS Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats - Approved for Waiver

A: GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. Q: Why was this decision made so late?

A: Several circumstances have led to the delay of these new recommendations. In early July, the National Federation of State High Schools Associations (NFHS) placed a moratorium on the use of composite bats for 2010-11 season, unless they meet the new Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard or pass the waiver test. In addition, legislation was introduced in California last March that would ban the use of all non-wood bats in the 2010-11 season. As a result, the CIF was put in a position to try and resolve this legislation so it would have the lowest fiscal impact on our member schools, yet take into account the safety of our student-athletes. This agreement was not resolved until August 11.

2. Q: What are the new standards for composite bats?

A: They must meet the BBCOR standards that include the Accelerated Break In (ABI) procedure and these bats will be affixed with some type of decal/stamp/silkscreen mark that indicates the bat is BBCOR compliant. In 2010-11, these bats do not need to be affixed with a “tamper evident” stamp/decal or have a stamp/decal that indicates the type of material contained in the barrel of the bat. (It is anticipated that the bat manufacturers, which produce a BBCOR-compliant bat this year, will meet the “tamper evident” seal displayed on the barrel of the bat decal/stamp, but it is possible that bats which have only the BBCOR compliant stamp/decal will be produced.)
UPDATE: Information that we've received indicates the "tamper evident" mark will not be on the 2010-11BBCOR approved bats list. In that case, the "tamper evident" mark will not be required this year.

3. Q: If I purchase a composite bat for the 2010-11 season that only has the BBCOR compliant mark, will the bat be legal in the 2011-12 school year?

A: At this point, no. Starting in 2011-12, all legal non-wood bats must have all the compliance marks as indicated previously.
UPDATE: Our sources indicate some type of "tamper evident" technology will be available next year, 2011-12. Once a definitive answer is available, the CIF will determine the best course of action to take.

4. Q: Will I be able to use the composite bat I used last year?

A: Probably not. However, the NFHS will allow waivers or modifications under certain circumstances as long as the composite bats meet the current BESR standards AND pass the new ABI procedure. The composite bats meeting this waiver or modification will be posted on the CIF Web site, cifstate.org, as the information becomes available. (It is anticipated very few bats will meet the waiver requirements.)
UPDATE: A list of non-wood bats meeting the approved waiver is now posted. Click on the link to the NFHS Web site that is provided. THESE BATS ARE ONLY APPROVED FOR 2010-11 and will not be approved for 2011-12.

5. Q: I just purchased a composite bat this summer. Will I be able to use this bat?

A: No, not unless it meets at the minimum the BBCOR performance standards or is a bat on the approved waiver/modification list that is posted on the CIF Web site, cifstate.org.

6. Q: I purchased a bat that is not legal. Can I apply for a waiver?

A: No, only bat manufacturers can submit bats to be tested.

7. Q: When will I be able to purchase a composite bat that meets the new standards?

A: It is anticipated the composite bats meeting the new standards will be available in November/December 2010.
UPDATED: We've been told retail stores will receive BBCOR approved bats by mid-December and the bats should be for sale at that time or no later than January 1, 2011. The number of bats may be limited at stores, but all stores are expected to receive approved bats.
.
8. Q: When will I be able to purchase an aluminum bat that meets the new standards?

A: Since the CIF is accelerating the implementation of aluminum bats to 2010-2011 instead of 2011-2012, the bat manufacturers are just learning of the CIF action. It is anticipated that aluminum bats will be available prior to January 1, 2011. If the aluminum bats that meet the new standards are not available statewide, aluminum bats meeting the current Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standards will be allowed. As the school year progresses, updates to this question will be posted on the CIF Web site: ciftstate.org.
UPDATE: We've been told retail stores will receive BBCOR approved bats - both composite and aluminum - by mid-December and the bats should be for sale at that time or no later than January 1, 2011. The number of bats may be limited at stores, but all stores are expected to receive approved bats.

9. Q: What exactly do you mean by “available statewide”?

A: Schools and individuals will have the same opportunity to purchase aluminum bats from their normal sources, regardless of where they live. As the year progresses, CIF will monitor the availability of these bats. Availability updates will be posted on the CIF Web site.
UPDATE: We've been told aluminum bats will be commercially available statewide on or before January 1, 2011.

10. Q: Will this same exception be allowed for composite bats?
A: No. Composite bats must meet the new BBCOR performance standards this school year, 2010-11 unless the bat is listed on the waiver/modification list.
11. Q: Are there different standards that must be met for aluminum bats?

A: The requirements are the same as those required for composite bats.

B PROTECTIVE GEAR

1 . Q: Why is CIF recommending the use of protective headgear for defensive players and base coaches in 2010-2011?

A: Although injuries have been minimal, there have been several catastrophic injuries this past season in both baseball and softball. The CIF is hopeful that the use of protective headgear would minimize any potential injury or stop an injury from happening.

2. Q: Is there any protective headgear on the market today designed specifically for defensive players?

A: There are some masks being produced for defensive softball players. However, there are none in the market place designed specifically for baseball players to our knowledge.

3 .Q: If suitable headgear for defensive players is not available, why does the CIF want to require the use of this equipment for 2011-2012?

A: The CIF is hopeful it can work with the NFHS, NCAA, National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (“NOCSAE”) and other interested parties to develop standards for safety headgear for defensive players that would be available for the 2011-2012 season.

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New 12/29/2010 CIF Press Release about BBCOR Bats for 2011

http://www.cifstate.org/sports/other/baseball.html

CIF Will Require Non-Wood BBCOR Approved Baseball Bats for the 2010-2011 Season

Information available as of December 29, 2010 indicates non-wood baseball bats that have been BBCOR certified will be commercially available starting January 1, 2011.

As a result of our partnership with Sports Authority, they have indicated their 70+ stores will have non-wood BBCOR approved bats for sale on January 1, 2011. Some SA stores already have non-wood BBCOR bats for sale. Other retail stores will have non-wood BBCOR bats, but we do not know their timeline for putting the bats up for sale. Baseball bats can also be purchased on-line. All non-wood BBCOR approved bats will have the BBCOR stamp affixed to the bat.

BBCOR Approved Baseball Bats List (12-29-10):

http://www.cifstate.org/sports/rules/pdf/BBCOR%20Approved%20Bats%20with%...

In addition, below is a link to the NFHS waiver list of non-wood bats that have been approved for use the 2010-11 season. After this season, 2010-11 these bats will not be approved for play,

NFHS Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats - Approved for Waiver:

http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=4155

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