Category Archives for National News


Note: Below is a copy of the press release the USBC put out in regards to new ball specifications that will take effect in 2020.   I was at the seminar when this was announced where a lot of information was shared into the research and reasoning during the USBC National Convention.  Feel free to send me a message with any questions, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

A video with a summary of the research presented is available below as well.

- Zach Boulanger
Association Manager

ARLINGTON, Texas – Following three years of research on how technology has affected the sport of bowling, the United States Bowling Congress Equipment and Specifications Committee has established new specifications designed to sustain the playing field both currently and in the future.

The new specifications, which will be implemented over the course of the next two seasons, were announced at the USBC Convention in Reno, Nevada.
“Technology impacts every sport, but it is our role as the National Governing Body to ensure the skill of the competitors on the lanes remains the deciding factor,” said Andrew Cain, chair of the USBC Equipment and Specifications Committee. “The research presented revealed the impact technology has made on the sport’s playing environment and the committee determined there was a need to enact these specifications.”

A new specification has been established for the oil absorption rate of bowling ball coverstocks, the first time such a specification has been set, and a specification to eliminate balance holes while increasing static weight allowances also has been approved.

In addition, new rules will be put into place to allow only a dry towel to be used to clean bowling balls during competition and to keep bowlers from changing the static weight (i.e. drilling grip holes deeper) of bowling balls during competition.

“The diligent work of the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications team spurred discussions in several areas and the committee made decisions that are needed to protect our sport’s future,” USBC President Frank Wilkinson said. “Technology will continue to push the boundaries and we will continue to analyze every aspect to make certain we are doing what’s in the best interests of bowling and our members.”

The new oil absorption specification for bowling ball coverstocks will require that for a new ball to be approved, submitted ball samples cannot have a rate of oil absorption under 2 minutes and 15 seconds (2:15), and must adhere to the 0.6% non-conformance rate. 

The initial step on the oil absorption specification will begin Aug. 1, 2018, when bowling ball manufacturers are required to submit oil absorption data as part of the USBC bowling ball approval process. Manufacturers have been provided a standard operating procedure (SOP) to determine oil absorption rates.

The specification requiring a bowling ball’s oil absorption rate to be more than 2:15 for the ball to be approved will take effect Aug. 1, 2020. Also, any ball models tested where the average oil absorption rate is under nine minutes and 30 seconds (9:30) will require additional balls to be tested.

The specification eliminating the use of balance holes will go into effect Aug. 1, 2020. Balance holes, also known as weight holes, are meant to correct static imbalance in bowling balls, but more recently have been used to change the design intent of balls. By allowing bowling balls (for balls weighing more than 10 pounds) to have up to three ounces of static side, thumb and finger weight – which is up from one ounce – and up to three ounces of top weight, there no longer will be the need for a balance hole to correct static imbalance in the typical ball layout.

The specification increases in static weights take effect Jan. 1, 2020, which will allow bowlers the opportunity to plug balance holes prior to the elimination of balance holes starting Aug. 1, 2020.  

With the elimination of balance holes, bowlers may have up to five holes for gripping purposes and all gripping holes must be used on every delivery.

The change allowing only a dry towel to clean bowling balls during competition becomes effective Aug. 1, 2019. It eliminates the use of liquid cleaners of any kind during competition, which aligns with other changes to ensure equipment is not manipulated during competition. The change prohibiting a bowler from adjusting static weight during a competition by drilling grip holes deeper goes into effect Aug. 1, 2020.

It is important for bowlers to understand the specification for oil absorption will not eliminate any bowling balls from competition, as all current balls will be grandfathered in. Bowlers also should be aware that because the increase in static weights starts Jan. 1, 2020, they will have seven months to have any balance hole plugged so they will be in compliance when the specification eliminating balance holes starts Aug. 1, 2020.

The Equipment and Specifications Committee has delegated authority from the USBC Board to make changes to equipment specifications. The USBC Board fully supports the direction and action taken by the Equipment Specifications Committee.

USBC will conduct a media-only teleconference on Tuesday, April, 24 at 8 p.m. (Eastern) with Equipment Specifications Committee members and USBC staff. To participate in the conference call, media members can email with their name and affiliation for call-in instructions.

Visit for USBC’s research and more about the specification changes.

USBC to reclassify more than 700 leagues as Sport or Challenge leagues based on research

Note:  The article below was originally posted by the USBC on

ARLINGTON, Texas – After researching the averages of bowlers who competed in multiple leagues during the 2016-2017 season, the United States Bowling Congress determined the lane conditions used in more than 700 leagues were more difficult than conditions in Standard leagues and those leagues will be reclassified with the appropriate Sport or Challenge designation.

A total of 605 leagues will be reclassified to Challenge leagues and 99 leagues will be reclassified as Sport leagues based on data that showed the scoring pace was significantly different from the scoring pace its members had on Standard league conditions.

The averages of the bowlers in those leagues now will carry a Sport or Challenge designation on Find A Member. If they have no other average, the bowlers will need to follow Rule 201 and use the Sport or Challenge conversion charts when entering leagues or tournaments bowled on Standard conditions.

“Average integrity is an important issue this industry continues to face and USBC is being proactive in using the data to make sure leagues are properly classified,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “This is another positive step to leveling the playing field at all USBC certified events.”

During the next several days, USBC will send emails and letters to the league secretary, league president and bowling center of the leagues, and inform the local and state association managers of the reclassification. The letters also will state that leagues have the right to appeal the reclassification; any appeals will be overseen by the USBC Rules department.

With assistance from the USBC Specifications and Certification department, the USBC Membership department examined the averages of every league from the 2016-2017 season.

To ensure it had a sample size large enough to evaluate a league, at least 20 percent of a league’s members had to have an average in another league if the league was to be evaluated for possible reclassification.

For leagues with a large enough sample size, the data showed 99 leagues were statistically more difficult for bowlers, with averages of 20 or more pins higher in a Standard or “house shot” league, which showed the league was competing on Sport conditions. It also found 605 leagues in which bowler averages were 10-19 pins higher in Standard leagues, which shows Challenge lane conditions.

The reclassification of the leagues continues USBC’s efforts to ensure the averages bowlers use in leagues and competitions are a true reflection of their abilities. It also is part of the continuing evaluation of leagues following changes to the Sport program several years ago.

The Sport Bowling program was changed in 2015, removing the membership costs and the need to submit lane tapes, and became a resource for lane patterns and information for bowlers seeking a more challenging level. Leagues were tasked with self-reporting by designating their league as Sport if the league used the tougher lane conditions.

To bridge the gap between Sport and Standard leagues, USBC introduced the Challenge league designation in 2017 for leagues using tougher, though not Sport, lane conditions. Compared to Standard lanes conditions (house shot), bowlers in Challenge leagues have averages that are 10-19 pins lower than averages on a house shot. Averages in Sport leagues are 20 or more pins lower.

Visit to learn more about Sport and Challenge lane conditions.

BVL Hits $1,000,000 Mark!

For the first time since 2001, bowling’s own, oldest and most successful charity, the Bowlers to Veterans Link, has cleared the million dollar mark – raising $1,069,779.75 going into the organization’s 75th Anniversary year.

“We’re absolutely delighted that we have broken that million dollar mark,” notes BVL Executive Director Mary Harrar.  “These monies were raised across America by volunteers that understand the importance of the BVL mission to Brighten Veterans’ Lives.  They know that their efforts will truly have an important impact on our veterans.”

The majority of the contributions – more than $630,000 – was derived from approximately 300 USBC associations and leagues throughout the country, up from $594,000 in the 15-16 season. Of that, $7,374.67 came from the State of Wisconsin.

“We can’t thank our bowlers from Wisconsin enough to help us break that million dollar mark,” notes BVL Executive Director Mary Harrar.  “Throughout the state — in small towns and big cities — your hard-working volunteers really made a difference.”

The remainder of the funds raised was the result of donations from bowling center campaigns, corporate support, personal contributions, and dollars donated in honor of members of the bowling community and military veterans.  Harrar adds, “From our corporate partners to youth league fund-raisers, our cause is being embraced by all segments of the sport.”

A complete list of the 16-17 contributors can be found at

BVL funds are used to provide recreational and therapeutic programs and activities to help brighten the days of veterans; encouraging participation in sports and the arts to help speed recuperation and boost morale.

Founded in 1942, BVL has been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs for its commitment to America’s veterans. Notes VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, “Our country’s sacred obligation to fully honor our commitments to our Veterans is deeply personal to me, and I’m particularly grateful to Bowlers to Veterans Link for joining us in their own enduring commitment and noble work for Veterans.  My deep thanks to BVL for steadfastly honoring Veterans’ sacrifices.” 

Harrar concludes, “While we thank each and every Wisconsin BVL volunteer and contributor for their efforts, we want to redouble our commitment as we enter this new season.  There is plenty of room for more associations to get involved.  Contact me at to get your free fund-raising kit.  Let’s work together to make our 75th Anniversary year better than ever!”

How can you help?

  1. Order a free fund raising kit:
  2. Visit us on Facebook and “Like” our page:
  3. Visit our website and sign up for our email news:

BVL ǁ 11350 Random Hills Road Suite 800 ǁ Fairfax, VA  22030 ǁ 703.934.6030 ǁ

Lane Certification Study Prompts New Specifications for 2019

Article from​


The United States Bowling Congress will implement new requirements for lane inspections and will adjust specifications for new installations for the 2019-2020 season based on recent research conducted by the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications team.

The research included analysis of the lane certification paperwork submitted by 323 centers, an examination of more than 1,000 lanes throughout the country, in which lanes were checked to determine compliance with current specifications, a study of the pin deck, and an examination of lane topography.

The studies were undertaken to determine the extent of lanes that were out of specification, which pin deck measurements have the most effect on scoring, how lane topography shifts over time, and how lane topography affects the ball path.

“The USBC team did a tremendous job in its research, looking at how lanes are inspected and how the lanes perform under current specifications,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “The results helped us to make decisions on ways to improve the lane certification process and how installations are done. The studies and subsequent changes are important to ensuring the lanes USBC members compete on in leagues and competitions meet required standards.”

The key changes to lane certification will be the specification change for new installations, including overlays on existing lanes, the number of measurements required for each lane, and how kickbacks, the side panels of each lane in the pit area, are measured.

For new installations, including overlays on existing lanes, the specification for crowns/depressions and crosswise tilts now will be plus/minus thirty-thousandths of an inch starting Aug. 1, 2019. USBC also will require an inspection within 14 days following the completion of a new installation.

The specification change only is at the time of installation, and will minimize maintenance costs. The specification returns to plus/minus forty-thousandths for the next annual inspection.

Lane topography, which looks at contours, crowns and depressions, showed lane surfaces can change throughout the year because of environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. If lanes start flatter, they will stay within the current specification of forty-thousandths of an inch for a longer time, prompting the specification change.

Starting with certifications for the 2018-2019 season, a new application for center certification will be available on that will address the number of measurements required for each lane and how kickbacks are measured.

Lane inspectors will be required to measure the lanes at five locations for crowns/depressions and crosswise title, instead of the current three locations. With many lanes using synthetic panels, and the fact it takes five synthetic panels to construct a lane, there is a need to have at least one measurement for each panel.

A pin deck area scoring study determined the most important measurement affecting percentage of strikes is the distance between the kickbacks at the back of the pin deck. Measurements now will be taken from kickback plate to kickback plate starting with the 2018-2019 season, as it simplifies the measuring process and is not a change in the specification.

Lane inspectors also will be required to submit inspection applications signed by the inspector, association manager, and center representative to USBC national headquarters.

To ensure the accuracy of the data, USBC will allow a one-year grace period for center certification. Simply having a proper inspection of the bowling center and supplying the data to USBC Headquarters will allow the center to be certified for the 2018-2019 season. The data collected during these inspections will be analyzed to determine if additional improvements to the process will be needed for the 2019-2020 season. Of course, proprietors always will be encouraged to make needed repairs to their lanes.

Go to and click on Lane-Center Certifications to learn more and to view the complete Lane Certification Study.

USBC National Convention Concludes

Article from

April 27, 2017​

Elected to the USBC Board of Directors on Thursday (from left): Adam Mitchell, Reston, Virginia; Karl Kielich, El Paso, Texas; Jo Dimond, Columbus, Ohio

LAS VEGAS – Delegates voted on three board positions, watched presentations of national awards, and heard reports from United States Bowling Congress President Frank Wilkinson and USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy as the 2017 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting wrapped up Thursday at The Orleans.

Four candidates ran for the three open spots on the USBC Board. Incumbents Jo Dimond of Columbus, Ohio, and Karl Kielich of El Paso, Texas, were slated by the USBC Nominating Committee along with Glenda Beckett of Palmetto Bay, Florida, and Adam Mitchell of Reston, Virginia.

Kielich (617 votes), Mitchell (567), and Dimond (562) were elected on the first ballot. Beckett received 490 votes. The three elected each will begin a three-year board term starting Aug. 1, 2017.

Two athlete representatives were re-elected to USBC Board earlier this year. Kelly Kulick was selected for her third term, and Rhino Page to his second term, by Team USA athletes.

The International Bowling Campus Youth Committee will have two new members as John McCarthy III of Louisville, Kentucky, and Taffany Shipp of Pensacola, Florida, were selected to replace outgoing members Mike Hillman and Kim Stanek-Sims. IBC Youth Committee members were determined earlier this year and approved by the boards of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and USBC.

Delegates also decided 14 proposed amendments – two for league rules, seven proposals for tournament rules (one was withdrawn) and five bylaws proposals – during the Annual Meeting. Nine of the proposed amendments passed, including a proposal to allow leagues and tournament directors the option to cap a handicap game at 300 and to cap a handicap series at 900.

Other highlights from Convention week were the annual presentations by Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL) and Bowl for the Cure®.

BVL provides recreational and therapeutic programs and services to brighten the days of America’s active duty and veteran service men and women. Founded in 1942, it is the sport’s oldest charity and has raised nearly $50 million.

BVL raised $925,500 for the Department of Veterans Affairs thanks to contributions made during the 2015-2016 season. California was the top state association contributor with $108,500, Metro Phoenix led local associations with a $22,000 donation, and Stockton USBC was recognized as Best Small Local Association with an average contribution of $9.28 per member. Go to to learn more about BVL.

Bowl for the Cure®, a year-round fundraising initiative sponsored by USBC in partnership with Susan G. Komen®, presented a $552,708 check to Susan G. Komen®, thanks to local and state association donations, along with merchandise sales and online donations. Go online to to learn more.

Also during the week, USBC announced changes to lane inspections and a new designation to bridge the gap between Standard and Sport averages.

USBC will implement new requirements for lane inspections for the 2018-2019 season and will adjust specifications for new installations for the 2019-2020 season based on recent research by the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications team.

USBC also has established a new designation for leagues competing on lane conditions that fall between Standard and Sport conditions. A new Challenge lane condition designation and conversion chart was determined based on research of leagues, and starting with the 2017-2018 season, league secretaries must choose one, and only one, of three lane condition options – Standard, Challenge or Sport – when submitting its league certification.

Go to to read more about the changes to lane inspections and the new Challenge lane condition designation.

League Rules (majority needed)

Amendment No. LR 1 – Accepted (528 accept, 238 reject)
Rule 100g, Handicap
Allows for a game and/or series to be capped at maximum scratch score.

Amendment No. LR 2 – Rejected (111 accept, 651 reject)
Rule 122, Meetings
Allows for changes to rules during the season with 75-percent approval of the team captains or designated representatives.

Tournament Rules (majority needed)
Amendment No. TR 1 – Rejected (307 accept, 462 reject)
Rule 303, Management
Allows the tournament manager to disqualify an individual for eligibility and/or average violations no later than 30 days after prizes are paid.

Amendment No. TR 2 – Rejected (99 accept, 669 reject)
Rule 319c, Average Adjustments (Rerating)
Allows for adjustments/rerating after games are completed.

Amendment No. TR 3 – Rejected (151 accept, 617 reject)
Rule 319c, Average Adjustments (Rerating)
Limits the reporting of rerates to three years prior.

Amendment No. TR 4 – Accepted (381 accept, 372 reject)
Rule 319d, Reporting Prior Prize Winnings
Requires reporting of prize money in excess of $300 in an event.

Amendment No. TR 5 – Accepted (425 accept, 327 reject)
Rule 319d, Reporting Prior Prize Winnings
Requires reporting of combined prize money in excess of $500 in a tournament.

Amendment No. TR 6 – Accepted (481 accept, 269 reject)
Rule 319d, Reporting Prior Prize Winnings
Requires reporting of combined prize money in excess of $1,000 in all tournaments competed in within 12 months.

Amendment No. TR 7 – Accepted (512 accept, 240 reject)
Rule 327 - Scoring Process, New Rule
Allows for a game and/or series to be capped at maximum scratch score.

Amendment No. TR 8 – Withdrew by proposer (USBC Legal and Legislative Committee)
Rule 329, Protests and Appeals
Allows for protests on eligibility and/or average violations to be filed no later than 10 days after prizes are paid.

Bylaws (two-third votes needed)
Amendment No. B 1 – Accepted (658 accept, 90 reject)
USBC National Bylaws
Article VI, Meetings
Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 3-a
Increases the formula for delegate representation to the USBC Convention and sets the maximum delegates allowed to an association to 30.

Amendment No. B 2 – Accepted (583 accept, 170 reject)
USBC National Bylaws
Article VI, Meetings
Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 3
Adds USBC Hall of Famers as eligible voters at the USBC Annual Meeting.

Amendment No. B 3 – Accepted (706 accept, 46 reject)
USBC Merged State Bylaws
Article VII, Meetings
Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 7, Quorum
Allows for one quorum for adult and youth delegates.

Amendment No. B 4 – Rejected (348 accept, 407 reject)
USBC Merged Local Bylaws
Article IV, Membership and Dues
Individuals joining a summer league can purchase membership for that summer and following season.

Amendment No. B 5 – Accepted (703 accept, 50 reject)
USBC Merged Local Bylaws
Article VII, Meetings
Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 6, Quorum
Allows for one quorum for adult members and Youth Representatives.

The USBC Board, in its authority also approved the following changes:
General Playing Rules

- A new General Playing Rule 16b explains a member’s responsibilities, such as ensuring the member uses the correct average or has current membership.
- For Rule 17a, the penalty has been changed to include “any and all monetary or non-monetary awards”.
Association Policy Manual
- The bowlers/delegates set the “maximum” dues amount and the board can determine an amount less than the maximum.
- The association can no longer set a cutoff date for obtaining averages. All scores, including playoff/rolloffs must be included when submitting averages to the association.
Youth change
- Rule 329, Protest and Appeal, allows for protest on eligibility and/or average violations to be filed no later than 10 days after prizes are paid.

New League Designation To Bridge Gap Between Standard, Sport

Article from

ARLINGTON, Texas – As the United States Bowling Congress continues to seek ways to ensure reported averages are a true reflection of a bowler’s abilities, USBC has established a new designation for leagues competing on lane conditions that fall between Standard and Sport conditions. A new Challenge lane condition designation and conversion chart was determined based on research of leagues conducted under a Sport/Challenge designation, as well as leagues competing on Blue lane conditions.

Recent research showed a discrepancy for leagues competing on more difficult, though not Sport, lane conditions. Because these leagues were not conducting their full league season on Sport conditions, or were using a variety of lane conditions, the leagues were designating as Standard, as currently there is no other option. The Challenge designation provides the solution.

“A thorough examination of bowlers who have competed in both Standard and Challenge leagues showed a discrepancy that needed to be addressed,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “The data showed us that using a Sport conversion for some leagues might not be appropriate, but the averages of bowlers competing on certain conditions did warrant a conversion to ensure they are not gaining an unfair advantage when they compete on Standard conditions. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the averages of all bowlers accurately reflect a bowler’s ability.”

Starting with the 2017-2018 season, when a league submits its certification, the league secretary must choose one, and only one, of three lane condition options – Standard, Challenge or Sport.

Standard will be for leagues conducted on traditional house conditions, Sport will be for true Sport leagues, while Challenge will be for leagues that use a variety of difficult patterns but are not classified as Sport-only leagues.

Data will also be used to determine a league’s lane condition designation. Leagues with an average difference of 20 or more pins still will be considered Sport. Leagues with an average difference between 10-19 pins will fall into the new Challenge condition. Leagues from the 2016-2017 season will be moved into the appropriate lane condition designation based upon final averages and an analysis, and those leagues will be notified they have been moved into a new classification.

USBC also has developed new average conversion charts, for both Sport and Challenge leagues, so tournament and league managers can convert Sport and Challenge averages to Standard averages, and vice versa. The bowlers in a Challenge league will receive a new designation in Find A Member, so tournament and other league managers are aware the bowler’s average was determined in a league bowled on tougher lane conditions. Averages are to be automatically converted using the conversion charts.

The changes are based on USBC Membership’s research of leagues that were marked as Standard but were reported, or discovered, to be competing on Sport or Challenge lane conditions. A check of the bowlers’ averages in those leagues, compared to the bowlers’ highest averages for the same season in a Standard league (min. 21 games), showed the discrepancy.

For more information, including a look at the differences between Standard, Challenge and Sport leagues, the average conversion charts that includes the Sport and Challenge conversions, and the research data, please visit