The 2018 World Bowling Youth Championships, held July 25-Aug. 3 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., included a July 28 meeting among various industry integers and federations, and a technical committee World Bowling assembled to consider whether the organization should adopt its own set of ball specifications independent of the United States Bowling Congress.

“We’ve been having this conversation on and off for the past two or three years,” World Bowling CEO Kevin Dornberger told BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione. “USBC’s ball specs really are intended to meet the needs of its league bowlers. Do they meet the needs of the global bowling population?

“I am not saying that they do or they don’t, but when the USBC ball specs process played out [earlier this year] and we started getting more than a few emails from federations asking if we should adopt all those new rules or if we should look into this ourselves, some appeared to be leaning in the direction of us taking on this responsibility ourselves.”

Dornberger added that such an endeavor would be logistically complicated and entail a departure from World Bowling’s longtime stance of following USBC specs, as the organization has done since 1952.

“In fairness to USBC, they have been our partners since 1952 when we adopted their specs, and if they have new specs and some of our international members don’t like it, that is not USBC’s fault.”

The technical committee includes Kegel Director of Research Neil Stremmel, Thailand’s Yannaphon Larpapharat, Marios Nicolaides of Cyprus, and Kegel VP of Sales and Marketing Gus Falgein.

Among the concerns the committee heard on July 28 were those of ball companies anxious about potentially having to pay ball approval fees to two separate organizations — USBC and World Bowling — and potentially having to manufacture two separate lines of balls, one complying with USBC specs and the other complying with World Bowling specs.

Among concerns expressed by federations is confusion as to which organization’s specs would prevail in major tournaments held in the U.S. should World Bowling adopts its own specs.

“If people came [to the U.S.] from Sweden to bowl, whose rules are they operating under?” Dornberger posed. “These are the issues. I don’t know what the solution is going to be.”

Dornberger advised that the committee soon would produce a report outlining next steps based on feedback from federations, ball companies and other interested parties.

“We are not going to sit on this,” Dornberger said, “but at the same time, we are not going to rush into anything.”

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