BESR Certification

What is the BESR Certification?

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations the BESR Certification can be explained in the following: In Rule 1-3-5, the Baseball Rules Committee addressed the altering of bats and incorporated the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard language into the body of the rule.

The requirement of the BESR certification mark on all non-wood bats, which originally was approved by the committee in 2001, took effect in high school baseball January 1, 2003. The BESR mark denotes that non-wood bats have a maximum exit speed of 97 miles per hour (under a set of laboratory conditions) and they have met moment-of-inertia requirements, as well as a maximum diameter of the bat and a minus-3 differential between the length and weight of the bat. The rule now states that bats may either be wood or non-wood, rather than listing various compositions of non-wood bats.

Although the rule requires non-wood bats to be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark, in some cases manufacturers have used a label, sticker or decal to denote BESR certification. However, effective January 1, 2006, no BESR label, sticker or decal will be permitted on any non-wood bat.

How does a bat become BESR Certified?

Each bat must pass testing in the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell ( “The Baseball Research Center serves as the official certification center for all baseball bats used for NCAA and NHFS.”

What are the specific rules for Adult Baseball bats?

According to the 2007 NFHS Baseball Rules Book the following rules pertain to the use of bats for high school and college play.

Rule 1-3-2

The bat which may be wood or non-wood product shall be a smooth cylinder implement with a knob that is permanently and securely fastened. All non-wood bat shall meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard, and such bats be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark. No BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bats. There shall be no devices, attachments or wrappings that cause the handle to become flush with the knob. Molded grips are illegal.

Rule 1-3-4

A wood bat 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 bay beyond 18 inches for the end of the handle.

Each Bat shall be:

  • In diameter at thickest part: (wood) 2 3/4 inches or less
  • In diameter at thickest part: (non-wood) 2 5/8 inches or less
  • In length: 36 inches or less
  • In weight: A bat shall not weight, numerically, more than three ounces less than the weight of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot be less than 30 ounces).

How does BESR Certification differ from Major League Baseball?

According to Major League Baseball and the Official Rules. The following explains the rules required for a Major League Baseball bat.

Under 1.00 Objectives of the Game, Rule 1.10:

a)  The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood.

NOTE: No laminated or experimental bats shall be used in a professional game (either championship season or exhibition games) until the manufacture has secured approval from the Rules Committee of his design and methods of manufacture.

b)  Cupped Bats. An indentation in the end of the bat up to one inch in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substances added.

c)  The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance, which extends past the 18 inch limitation, shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.

NOTE: If the umpire discovers that the bat does not conform to c) above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game.

d)  No colored bat may be used in a professional game unless approved by the Rules Committee.

How was the University of Massachusetts – Lowell selected for the Baseball Research Center?

The program was found in 1998 by MLB and Rawlings. “The purpose was to establish an independent lab for completing science and engineering research as it applies to MLB.” Then in September 1999 the NCAA took notice of the work being done and begins to work with the lab in cooperation. The NCAA was looking to establish bat performance standards. Currently the Baseball Research Center does all the testing for the BESR Certification for all manufacturers.

Read more information regarding the History of the Baseball Research Center