Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More On Bat-testing Regulations Being Modified

RT Staff Note...This makes no sense to me. Why not just use wood?

No more BESR, but now something called BBCOR?
From NCAA.com and The NCAA News

The NCAA will test a baseball's liveliness off the bat rather than its speed to determine whether the bat meets performance standards.

With almost all Division I programs using metal bats, the organization wants to make sure the power produced by the bat-ball contact is no greater than that produced by wood, the NCAA's Ty Halpin said Wednesday.

"The test we had previously gave us a pretty good reading on wood versus non-wood, and we still feel like that's the case, but we have found a few pieces where there seems to be some difference here for whatever reason," said Halpin, the NCAA associate director of playing rules administration.

Previously, non-wood bats had to meet a BESR or "ball exit ratio speed" performance standard based on the length and weight of the bat to produce a certain ball speed after contact. Now, the test will be a BBCOR "ball-bat coefficient of restitution," which eliminates discrepancies with different length bats and is a more direct measure of bat performance.

"Basically, it's how springy the ball is, how bouncy," he said. "What the BBCOR is measuring is how lively that collision is. It's not an exit speed; it's measuring what the bat and the ball do together."

Halpin said the change was not prompted by any concern for safety.

"From our perspective, it's a continued effort to refine the standard as we go along and continue to tie ourselves to wood (standards).

"We've seen some discrepancies that could allow manufacturers to maybe make a little more of a powerful bat. We just don't want that to happen," he said. "We don't believe that's happened, and the manufacturers have been with us every step of the way as we've refined the standards, so they're well aware of what's happening here and why we're doing it."

Bats used by NCAA schools must meet the BBCOR standards by Jan. 1, 2011.

"So it's not a surprise to anybody," Halpin said. "The manufacturers actually already have some prototypes that they'd like to start testing now for the new standards, so we don't think there's going to be any sort of transition for our schools or for the manufacturers."

The following excerpts from a story released by NCAA news also mentioned that the new BBCOR measure is designed to have bats mimic the perfromance of wood and that they have a motive of reducing offensive production:

The committee and the research panel found that for a given bat length, batted-ball speed is a near-perfect correlation with BBCOR – that is, a bat’s BBCOR will predict the speed with which the ball will leave the bat. Because wood and non-wood bats with the same BBCOR produce essentially the same batted-ball speeds, it is relatively easy to relate a non-wood bat’s performance to that of a similarly sized wood bat.

The panel believes most bat designers are more familiar with the BBCOR than with the previous standard, which should help them create bats that meet NCAA performance standards.

The rules committee made the change in part because of NCAA Division I baseball statistics that indicate increased offensive performance, particularly in home runs and runs scored. The committee believes the rise is due, in part, to the kind of bats in use today.

“But the modification in the measure of performance doesn’t mean that the testing process itself has changed,” said the NCAA’s Ty Halpin, associate director of playing rules administration and staff liaison to the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.

The rules committee has determined, based on a large sample of wood bats tested in the same manner, that an appropriate maximum standard for BBCOR is 0.50. Halpin said that satisfies the NCAA’s intention to maintain its non-wood standard using available scientific data and – as nearly as possible – achieving wood-like performance in non-wood bats.

“The 0.50 standard sets the performance line slightly higher than the best available wood bats in our database,” he said. “This will ensure that all wood bats continue to be legal under the new standard.”

The NCAA will maintain other standards, such as the current length-to-weight difference, the “moment-of-inertia” (MOI) standard and bat-diameter limit. No “sliding scale” will be associated with the new BBCOR standard; thus, all bats must meet the 0.50 limit regardless of length. The new standard is likely to require an adjustment in the design of all bats currently legal under the BESR.

To allow manufacturers sufficient time to adjust, the NCAA will enforce this standard beginning January 1, 2011, and will allow only BBCOR-certified bats in the 2011 season and beyond. There will be no opportunity for “grandfathering” old bats.

Halpin said the change does mean that existing bats will need to be tested again, and that by 2011, bats will be required to be designated with a BBCOR certification mark to be considered legal.

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