Cyber Report #949

E-dition No. 949 Thursday, April 27, 2017
Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

Greetings from Las Vegas, where the United States Bowling Congress Annual Meeting has drawn to a close after four days of educational sessions, award presentations, the USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony and more. This edition of the BJI Cyber Report will focus on two of the big stories breaking this week, along with a few other items of interest. We’ll have more on the convention next week, as well as in the June issues of BJI and BCM.

New Certification Procedures to Put Focus on Lanes

Is it the lanes or is it the balls? That’s the question that always comes up when discussions turn to the scoring explosion in bowling.

In a move that seems certain to ignite a firestorm of debate on social media, the United States Bowling Congress this morning put the focus on lanes – in particular, synthetic lanes – announcing plans to implement new requirements for lane inspections and adjust specifications for new installations, effective with the 2019-20 season.

At the USBC Annual Meeting at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy acknowledged that USBC has become “very relaxed” in many areas of the country when it comes to making sure lanes are in compliance with USBC specifications. He also said that with 82% of certified lanes now being made of synthetic materials and only 18% of wood, it was time to take a closer look at specs that were written for wood lanes.

“This is a complicated, sensitive, emotional issue for the entire industry, but we’ve gone way too long in trying to figure this out,” Murphy said. “We are the national governing body. We have to start enforcing the rules if we’re going to clean it up.”

Decisions about the initial steps to take were 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, and an examination of more than 1,000 lanes throughout the country, with lanes 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,” 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 2018-19 season, a new application for center certification will be available on Bowl.com 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 2018-19 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 2018-19 season. The data collected during these inspections will be analyzed to determine if additional improvements to the process will be needed for the 2019-20 season. Proprietors always will be encouraged to make needed repairs to their lanes.

Go to BOWL.com/EquipAndSpecs and click on Lane-Center Certifications to view the complete Lane Certification Study.

USBC Unveils ‘Challenge’ Lane Condition Designation

USBC has established a new designation for leagues competing on lane conditions that fall between Standard and Sport conditions. The 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 is intended to provide 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’s 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 2017-18 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 2016-17 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” on Bowl.com 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 (minimum of 21 games), showed the discrepancy.

For more information – including a look at the differences among Standard, Challenge and Sport leagues; the average conversion charts that include the Sport and Challenge conversions, and the research data -visit BOWL.com/SportBowling.

Ozio, Shady Inducted Into USBC Hall of Fame

The USBC Hall of Fame welcomed two new members and celebrated their accomplishments Wednesday evening at The Orleans.

The 2017 Hall of Fame Class includes David Ozio of Beaumont, Texas, in the Superior Performance category, and Mike Shady of Girard, Pa., for Outstanding USBC Performance.

Ozio, 63, is an 11-time PBA Tour titlist, including the 1991 PBA Tournament of Champions, part of a four-win year that ended with PBA Player of the Year honors.

He went on to find success on the PBA50 Tour, earning two victories, the first of which was the 2004 Senior U.S. Open on the way to being named PBA50 Rookie of the Year.

“The honor tonight is beyond measure,” said Ozio, who was ranked 34th on the PBA’s list of the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History (2009). “When you think back to the dedication and the things it took to get here, was it worth it? By all means. I would’ve done it again 10 times over.”

Shady, 51, has experienced an unprecedented run of success at the USBC Open Championships, which includes two wins on the championship lanes – Team All-Events (2005) and Regular Team (2011) – and 13 additional top-10 finishes.

He also is the tournament’s lifetime average leader for competitors with a minimum of 20 years of participation, with a mark of 222.28 in 21 appearances (189 games). He has posted an all-events score of 1900 or better in 20 of those years.

The right-hander’s resumĂ© includes first-team All-America honors while competing for Nebraska during the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons, and a win at the 1985 Intercollegiate Team Championships, while bowling for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Shady went on to claim one PBA Tour title at the 1992 Earl Anthony PBA Open in Dublin, Calif.

“Tonight, I am truly honored and humbled to be in the same category as everybody who walked through that door earlier,” Shady said, referring to the other hall of famers in attendance. “I’m filled with gratitude and just very humbled.”

Through 2017, there are 419 members of the USBC Hall of Fame – 218 in Superior Performance, 117 in Meritorious Service, 50 in Veterans, 20 in Pioneers and 14 in Outstanding USBC Performance.

The USBC Hall of Fame was created in 2005 by merging the former American Bowling Congress and Women’s International Bowling Congress Halls of Fame. For more information on the USBC Hall of Fame, visit BOWL.com/HallofFame.

Belmonte Signs With Logo Infusion

Logo Infusion has announced the addition of 14-time PBA champion and eight-time major winner Jason Belmonte to the company’s National Staff.

Logo Infusion is a dye-sublimated apparel manufacturer based in Las Vegas. Founded in 2008, the company has focused on providing quality products at competitive prices while offering a turnaround time that the company says is quicker than the industry average.

“When I started working in the bowling industry almost 26 years ago, I never imagined our company would be associated with a pinnacle of bowling,” said Ken Keegan, Executive Director of the company. “We are very excited that Jason Belmonte has joined our team. When you think of professional bowlers around the world, Jason is the first bowler from the modern era that will come to mind. Along with his tremendous skill on the lanes, Jason has also created a unique bowling brand, encompassing his unique delivery, his Australian heritage, and his loyalty to his sponsors. We have plans over the next three-plus years to help Jason build that brand even larger.

“Jason and I will remain focused on brightening up the entire bowling community with jerseys, including league bowlers, junior bowling events, the PWBA, and the over 71 million participants of bowling each year. The future is bright at Logo Infusion, and we expect to continue to grow in the bowling industry as we strive toward becoming the bowling shirt of bowling.”

Keegan added that the entire Logo Infusion staff is looking forward to partnering with Belmonte on future initiatives that will aid in the growth of the sport of bowling.

Briefly…

* During the 2016 Professional Women’s Bowlers Association season, Shannon O’Keefe saw her professional life change after a career year on the newly relaunched tour. As the 2017 PWBA Tour kicks off with the QubicaAMF Sonoma County Open at Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, Calif., April 27-29, the 13-time Team USA member is looking to defend her first pro singles title. O’Keefe would win a total of three PWBA titles in 2016, but none more important than the PWBA Sonoma County Open. It will forever be the title that helped get her over the hump in title matches, as she redeemed herself from previous shortcomings under the TV lights. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/2017-pwba-season-set-to-kick-off-with-sonoma-county-open/.

* The USBC Women’s Championships has returned to Baton Rouge, La, for the first time in nearly a quarter century, and the 2017 event opened Sunday at the Raising Cane’s River Center. The first of nearly 4,500 teams helped kick off the 98th edition of the event formerly known as the WIBC Championships. Those competing Sunday were treated to the ceremonial ribbon-cutting and mass ball shot, as well as a welcome to Red Stick from local and bowling dignitaries and Cajun fiddler and heritage preservationist, Ann Vidrine. Speakers included Visit Baton Rouge President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Arrigo, City of Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Louisiana Office of Tourism Assistant Secretary Kyle Edmiston and USBC Vice President Cathy DeSocio. The River Center previously hosted the USBC Open Championships in 2005 and 2012, and the venue once again was transformed into a championship bowling facility, featuring 44 lanes, vendor and office space, a concessions area, locker room and squad room. The venue also will host the USBC Queens on May 17-23. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/2017-womens-championships-underway-in-baton-rouge/.

* Kyle Troup and Jesper Svensson’s electrifying win in the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, continued the positive PBA viewership momentum trends of 2016-17 on ESPN. The live finals average viewership was up 18 percent over last year’s Roth/Holman Doubles. Viewership through 13 PBA-on-ESPN shows is averaging 642,969 viewers, up 13 percent year-over-year. ESPN’s SportsCenter included highlights from the finals on Sunday night, and Troup appeared live via satellite on Tuesday morning’s SportsCenter to talk about the win and his career following in the footsteps of his father, Guppy Troup.

* Seattle area proprietor Mike Gubsch of West Seattle Bowl will be inducted into the Greater Seattle USBC Hall of Fame on Friday, May 12. Gubsch and partner Andy Carl have operated West Seattle Bowl since 1993. Previously, Gubsch and partner Eddie Ressler (PBA member) operated 20th Century Bowling in Bellingham, Wash.

* Twelve youth bowlers have been selected by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee to receive a Gift for Life Scholarship, valued at $1,000: Kortney Aaron, Detroit; Jacquelyne Beard, Harvest, Ala.; Brooklyn Boudreau, Longview, Wash.; Jama Claxton, Russiaville, Ind.; Caity Cox, Burton, Mich.; Andrew Lazarchick, Brick, N.J.; Hannah Lennox, Sedro-Woolley, Wash.; Brittany McElroy, Augusta, Ga.; Seth Monfee, Prattville, Ala.; Samantha Pilyih, Pittsburgh; Jason Sirera, Winter Haven, Fla., and Jordan Sirera, Winter Haven, Fla. Gift for Life Scholarships annually are awarded to high school students who are USBC Youth members and can provide evidence of financial hardship that would make obtaining a college degree challenging.

* The McKendree women and Webber International men were victorious at the 2017 Intercollegiate Team Championships. Both championship rounds went the maximum five games, as a best-of-five Baker format determined the winners Saturday at the Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge. The McKendree women defeated defending champion Webber International, 3-2, while the Webber men knocked off 2016 ITC winner, McKendree, 3-2. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/mckendree-women-webber-international-men-take-itc-titles/.

* In a wire-to-wire victory, Lennie Boresch Jr. won the PBA50 UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl In The Villages presented by Radical on Tuesday for his third career PBA50 Tour title. Boresch, who led all four rounds in qualifying and match play to enter the stepladder finals as the top qualifier, defeated Bob Learn Jr., 264-213, in the title match at Spanish Springs Lanes at The Villages, Fla. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/lennie-boresch-jr-goes-wire-to-wire-to-winpba50-unitedhealthcare-sun-bowl-in-the-villages/,

* After a two-match dress rehearsal to get their vocal chords loosened up and their chants in order, the rambunctious fans at Bayside Bowl will be in peak form for the final two L.L.Bean PBA League quarterfinal round matches airing Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Sunday’s coverage will begin with the Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters, the only team to win the PBA League Elias Cup twice, facing off against the MaineQuarterly.com Brooklyn Styles. The second and final quarterfinal match will send the hometown-favorite L.L.Bean Portland Lumberjacks against the Barbasol Motown Muscle. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/sunday-on-espn-atom-splitters-begin-bid-for-third-elias-cup-as-l-l-bean-pba-league-quarterfinal-matches-conclude-at-bayside-bowl/.

* Kids Fest is kicking off at Bowlmor AMF-operated centers across the country, including 11 locations in the Chicagoland area on Saturday. Kids Fest was created as an event for families to come together to enjoy a day of free bowling and fun, just in time for spring. During the Kids Fest event, those 15 and younger will receive one free hour of bowling and shoe rental, along with an official Kids Fest sticker. Adults will receive one hour of bowling for $5, and food and drinks will be discounted.

* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is long-time bowler, coach and writer, John Wilson. To listen to the conversation, go to: http://www.kegel.net/phantomblog/2017/4/26/john-wilson-phantom-radio.

* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at bjibob@aol.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com. BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com.

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