The California Interscholastic Federation held a media teleconference on Wednesday to discuss several statewide issues in high school athletics, including the new regulations on the use of non-wood bats and penalties regarding ineligible athletes.
On the former matter, CIF rule changes were initially set in motion last March, when Marin Catholic High”s Gunnar Sandberg was critically injured while pitching during a practice game, after a line drive produced by a composite bat struck him in the head. Sandberg underwent emergency surgery after going into a chemically-induced coma.
In light of the incident, Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) drafted a bill calling for a three-year statewide moratorium on all aluminum and alloy bats at the high school level. What resulted instead was a new standard for composite bats — Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution — which essentially limits the “trampoline effect” of bat barrels, thereby reducing their “performance enhancing” qualities.
The standard went into effect Jan. 1, and with the baseball season about to begin, local prep baseball players are steadily adjusting to the BBCOR bats. So far, the difference has been drastic.
“My goodness. The BBCOR bats have a lot less pop, the ball comes off slower and it just doesn”t perform as well as the bats we”ve used in the past,” said Pleasant Valley coach Ron Souza. “I think guys who pull the ball or are fly-ball hitters will have to change. It won”t affect contact hitters as much. … It will be just like anything else. In a year everyone will be used to it. It all just got handed own so quickly.”
A list of CIF-compliant bats is available at cif.org.
The other topic discussed in the teleconference was a proposed bylaw, which outlines violations “caused or created by lack of administrate oversight affecting students” ineligibility.”
In essence, if an ineligible player competes due to a school administration”s failure to file the necessary paperwork, the school could face a forfeiture of the initial game plus a monetary fine between $100 and $1,000. The proposal goes on to state that schools should file the appropriate forms and have them “submitted in a timely manner and reviewed by the section.” The third violation within a 12-month school calendar would result in what CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida referred to as “the hammer,” wherein the offending institution could face further sanctions.
The bylaw had its first reading on Feb. 4 and will be voted on April 29. If passed, it would take effect next school year.
Sports writer Nick Wilson”s prep sports column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at 896-7769 or by e-mail at email@example.com.