Rule 13.00 – Safety Rules
13.01 FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL CONCUSSION LAWS:
USSSA, as a sanctioning body of athletic events, shares the concerns being raised on a national and local level regarding concussions and concussion symptoms in participants, coaches/managers and umpires/referees in USSSA sanctioned activities. USSSA encourages its directors, umpires, coaches, referees, teams, team managers, and all adults involved in youth activities and participants
to learn all they can about concussions in athletics and requires each of them and each of the USSSA directors to follow all federal, state and local laws (including concussion training and reaction laws) with regard to athletic competition sanctioned by USSSA. In addition, USSSA has added the following to the rule books of each USSSA sport which does not defer to another organization for its
Upon becoming aware that a participant or coach/manager of his team has received a suspected concussion (or has been struck in the head area with any significant force), the Team Manager will not allow that person to participate in any USSSA sanctioned event and if occurring during a USSSA sanctioned event, shall have that person removed from the playing field of any USSSA sanctioned event. Upon becoming aware that a participant, coach/manager or official/umpire/referee has received a suspected concussion (or has been struck in the head area with any significant force), a USSSA official/umpire/referee or director will have that person removed from the playing field of any USSSA sanctioned event. Without a written medical written clearance from a licensed medical doctor to return to play, such persons will not be allowed to return to the USSSA playing field in a USSSA sanctioned event. For officials/umpires/referees, the medical written consent form must be presented to the Tournament Director and retained permanently by the USSSA State Director. For participants and coaches/managers, the medical written medical consent form must be presented to the Team Manager and retained permanently by the Team Manager. Any Team Manager, who allows a coach/manager or participant back on a USSSA sanctioned event playing field without first obtaining the required written consent, may be suspended by the State Director for up to one year and upon request of the State Director, may be suspended for a longer duration by the USSSA disbarment committee. State Directors allowing an official/umpire/referee back in the field of play without the necessary consent will be subject to being disciplined as determined by the USSSA Board of Directors.
In the event of severe head trauma in a USSSA sanctioned activity, the injured person will not be moved, and an ambulance will be called, unless otherwise directed by a qualified medical professional. The parent or guardian of the injured person, however, will not be bound by this protocol and may choose a different approach consistent with their legal rights as the parent or guardian.
13.02 ALTERED BATS:
13.02.C.1 Altered Bat Director Inspection and Suspension: A USSSA Director may at any time ask to inspect a bat that has been brought into the location of a USSSA sanctioned event or any other USSSA facility. The owner and / or user may either:
13.02.C.1(a) Withhold the bat from inspection and accept an immediate two-year (automatic life time for second time offenders pursuant to USSSA Rule 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2) suspension from USSSA sanctioned activities with no right to appeal; or,
13.02.C.1(b) Allow the Director to inspect the bat and reach a conclusion as to whether or not the bat might be altered.
13.02.C.2 Altered Bat Determination by Altered Bat Committee Chairman or Manufacturer: If, after making the inspection of a potential altered bat, the Director in his discretion decides that the bat might be an altered bat, the suspected offending owner and / or user and may either:
13.02.C.2(a) Withhold the bat from further examination by the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman or Manufacturer and accept an immediate two-year (up to life time for second time offenders pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2) suspension from USSSA sanctioned activities with no right to appeal; or
13.02.C.2(b) Allow the Director to send the bat to the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman and / or Manufacturer for a determination as to whether or not the bat is altered. If the Manufacturer or the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman determines that the bat has been altered, the Altered Bat Committee Chairman in consultation with the Director who inspected the bat at the USSSA facility may suspend a first-time offender for up to five (5) years from USSSA play. For a second-time offender pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2, any such suspension shall be life time.
13.02.C.3 Ownership and Knowledge of Bat Being Altered: The responsibility for knowing whether a bat is altered is that of the users and the owner of the bat. If an individual uses an altered bat in USSSA sanctioned play or is the owner of an altered bat that is brought into a USSSA facility, the suspensions pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2 shall be imposed without regard to what the individual actually knew about the altered bat. An individual must know that his bat is not an altered bat, if he brings it into a USSSA facility or used it in a USSSA sanctioned activity. If not, the individual can be suspended from USSSA activities for using or owning an altered bat. The fact that the individual did not know that the bat was altered is not a factor in imposing the suspension. The only question is whether the bat is altered or whether the owner / user has refused to let the bat be examined to determine if it is altered. After the Director, Altered Bat Committee and
Manufacturer examination of a bat to determine if it is altered have all been completed, or upon the decision of the owner / user to not allow further inspection of the bat pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2, the bat shall be returned to the owner. If no one claims to be the owner, USSSA shall retain the bat. Once the bat has been returned to the owner, no appeal can be made with respect to whether the bat is altered or not.
13.02.C.4 Investigation Cooperation: Any coach, manager, player or other person who fails to cooperate in the investigation by USSSA of a potential or actual altered bat may be subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct suspension. A manager or coach of a team that has more than one of his team’s bats determined to be altered (or not allowed to be inspected upon request
for an altered bat inspection pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2, may be subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct suspension.
13.02.C.5 Awards and Coach Suspensions: If an owner / user chooses to submit a suspected altered bat to the USSSA Altered Bat Committee or Manufacturer no awards may be given to the team until the bat is determined not to be altered. If the bat is found to be altered, no awards or berth shall be given, and the team shall be placed last in the standings and the listed manager and coaches may be suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct.
13.02.C.6 Participation in, Profits from, or Encouraging the Altering of USSSA Marked Bats: Anyone who participates in, profits from, or encourages the altering of USSSA marked bats shall be suspended indefinitely from all USSSA activities, until the offending party has satisfied all requests of the USSSA Altered Bat Committee with respect to his altered bat activities including but not limited to publicly swearing under penalties of perjury to never again participate in, profit from, or encourage
the altering of USSSA marked bats. Violation of such an oath shall result in permanent suspension from all USSSA activities.
13.02.C.7 Compression Testing: Failure of a USSSA approved compression testing device test shall result in the offending bat being removed from play for the duration of the tournament or league game but no longer without the permission of the owner / user – such as in the case of an allowed USSSA altered bat determination pursuant to USSSA Rule 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2. Multiple failures of such USSSA compression testing may in the discretion of USSSA be viewed as unsportsmanlike conduct of the owner/user, coaches, manager and team.
13.02.C.8 Custom Bats: No approved manufacturer may make a custom USSSA bat for a player or a team. All USSSA marked bats made by a USSSA approved manufacturer must be available to the public for purchase. Individualized graphics (such as a team name, different color, player name or number only changes for a team or player), however, do not constitute custom bats for purposes of this rule.
13.02.C.9 Worn / Abused / Damaged / Foreign Substance Bats Not Allowed in USSSA Sanctioned Play:
13.02.C.9(a) No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if it is damaged in any way. Damaged bats include those with damage to the knob or end cap, those which have loose knobs or end caps, and those with cracks or dents in the bat material. For example, if the end cap is in any way loose or appears damaged, the bat should be removed from play for being a damaged bat. If an end plug has come out or the knob has come off, the only way that such bat is legal in USSSA play, is if the knob or end cap is replaced by the manufacturer. Replacement by anyone else results in an altered bat with potential suspension for the owner/user of the bat.
13.02.C.9(b) No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if any of the graphics of the bat have worn off. For example, even if the only graphics that have worn off are not Key Graphic Information and are only items such as the patent no., a manufacturer logo, or the approval mark of another association, the bat should be removed from play for being too worn.
13.02.C.9(c) No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if the paint has been worn through and the actual bat material is showing. For example, if at the end of the barrel next to the taper where there are no graphics the bat paint is worn off and the underlying bat material is exposed, that bat should be removed from play for being too worn.
13.02.C.9(d) No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if there is a foreign substance on the barrel or taper of a bat. Foreign substances included among other substances, pine tar, stick-em type products and even dirt or mud, but only if the substance adds to the thickness of the barrel or covers Key Graphic Information such as the USSSA 1.15 BPF mark, the serial number of the bat, the model or manufacturer name, official softball, etc. Players are responsible for their equipment and must clean such substances off of their bats so that the substance does not add to the thickness of the bat or obscure any Key Graphics Information about the bat. For example, while bats shall surely get dirt on them under normal use and may have pine tar added to the grip, if the dirt or pine tar obscures Key Graphic Information or adds to the thickness of the bat, such bats cannot be used in USSSA play until the dirt or pine tar has been removed to the extent necessary to make all such Key Graphic Information readable and the bat not have increased thickness. If Key Graphic Information about a bat cannot be read, the bat should not be used in USSSA play.
13.02.C.9(e) If any removed bat pursuant to USSSA Rule 13.02.C.9 is brought back into play at any USSSA sanctioned event an any time, the owner and user of such bat may be suspended for up to one year for unsportsmanlike conduct. And if the worn / abused / damaged / foreign substance is apparent enough that the batter should have been aware of it, the batter may be so suspended for bringing such a bat into the batter’s box without having been warned in advance. Players are responsible for their equipment and must not use equipment that is even potentially illegal for use in USSSA sanctioned play.
13.02.C.9(f) In addition to the player being suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct, coaches of youth teams may also be so suspended when their players attempt to bat with such bats. Also, coaches of adult teams which have multiple offenses under this rule may also be so suspended for failing to have his team follow USSSA equipment rules. Please be reminded that unsportsmanlike conduct can result in a game or tournament suspension in the discretion of the Umpire or tournament director and up to a year suspension in the discretion of the State Director.
13.02.C.10 Youth Player Altered Bats: The parents or legal guardians of a youth player suspended pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and / or 13.02.C.2 may be suspended for any time period, including life, from all USSSA sanctioned activities. If both parents are suspended, the player even after his suspension has ended pursuant to USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and/or13.02.C.2 cannot participate in USSSA sanctioned activities until the suspension of one of the players parents has also ended or until the player reaches the age of eighteen (18) years old. In addition to any other penalties pursuant to
USSSA Rules, any coach or manager of a youth team that has more than one suspension imposed on his players in connection with USSSA Rules 13.02.C.1 and /or 13.02.C.2 may be suspended from all USSSA activities for any time period, including life.
13.02.C.11 Altered Bat: An “Altered Bat” is a bat that has had its physical structure changed, including, but not limited to:
13.02.C.11(a) The bat has had the surface of the barrel or the taper changed in any way such as by addition of graphics, painting, repainting, removal of bat material or paint by any means including but not limited to sandpapering or applying a solvent to the surface such as fingernail polish remover or by any other means.
13.02.C.11(b) The bat has had the plug or the knob removed / replaced or changed in any way.
13.02.C.11(c) The bat has had anything removed or added or inserted to the inside or outside of the bat other than tape at the handle or knob. Other examples of altering a bat would be changing or replacing manufacturers’ markings or replacing the handle of a bat with a new handle. Replacing the grip, adding tape or adding a build up to the handle is not considered altering a bat.
13.02.C.11(d) The bat has been subjected to pressure in a manner that exceeds that of striking the bat at game speed swing speed against a USSSA approved ball traveling at game speeds. Such pressure would include, but is not limited to, compressing the bat, rolling the bat, vicing the bat or hitting the bat against an object such as a tree or pole. The bat has in any other way had its on-field performance improved by physically changing the bat (other than by hitting the bat at game condition swing speeds against a USSSA approved ball traveling at game condition speeds).