USSSA Making Life Even More Complicated for Team Dealers
Just when you thought all of the bat battles of the past two years were behind you, here comes news that the United States Sports Specialty Association (USSSA) has announced baseball bat standard changes in the 13U division for the 2020 season and a transition to a new bat-testing lab, NTS Chesapeake, to validate bats for USSSA slow pitch softball and baseball programs.
Starting January 1, 2020, all 13U baseball events and all teams in 13U events must use a maximum drop-8 or minus-8 bat with the official USSSA 1.15 BPF Mark permanently stamped. All 14U events and all teams in 14U events must use a maximum drop-5 or minus-5 bat with the official USSSA 1.15 BPF Mark permanently stamped.
A first offense penalty includes the option of a defensive team having the batter called out on a ball put in play. A second offense penalty includes ejection of the team manager.
The transition to the NTS Chesapeake bat-testing lab will result in new stamps on bats used in baseball and softball.
USSSA will be rolling out new bat stamps to signify testing under the new standards and protocols developed by the USSSA Bat Committee. The process involved months of testing with current USSSA certified bats.
Slow-pitch softball bats certified under the new standards will have an initial retail launch on June 1, 2020 and bats with the 2012 USSSA stamp will be grandfathered in for use until July 1, 2021. As of July 1, 2021, bats with USSSA 2012 stamp will no longer be accepted for use and bats with a compression of 240 pounds or greater will be eligible for use on the field of play. This gives participants 23 months to use current stamped bats.
USSSA Baseball bat certification will also transition to NTS and all bats produced after August 1, 2020 will have been certified through NTS. There will be a new USSSA baseball stamp, but there will not be a grandfathering stop date on bats with the old stamp, as the new stamp will only denote the bat has been certified by NTS.