USBC AND STORM PRODUCTS ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT OF NATIONAL TOURNAMENT EXCLUSION AND BALL EXCHANGE PROGRAM
ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress and Storm Products have agreed on a national tournament exclusion rule and ball exchange program for six Storm Products manufactured ball models. The agreement comes after USBC identified the models having a percentage of balls produced below USBC minimum 73D hardness specification.
USBC’s investigation showed a percentage of these ball models measured below the USBC-required hardness level of the approval samples submitted by Storm. Storm collaborated with USBC after being notified of this testing.
The affected models include:
- Storm Phaze 4
- Storm Electrify Solid
- Storm Trend 2
- 900 Global Altered Reality
- 900 Global Wolverine
- Roto Grip UFO Alert
Effective March 30, 2022, these balls models are prohibited from use in USBC national tournaments, including, but not limited to, the USBC Masters, U.S. Open, USBC Open Championships, USBC Women’s Championships, all PWBA Tour events, USBC Junior Gold and Youth Open Championships, USBC Intercollegiate Championships, USBC Team USA Trials, USBC Senior Masters and USBC Senior Queens.
These ball models remain USBC approved. Each USBC competition, whether tournament or league, has the option to adopt USBC’s national tournament rule prohibiting use of these balls or to continue to allow their use.
USBC has shared this national tournament rule with Storm and has Storm’s support. Storm will offer owners of the affected balls the option to exchange their balls for a new product. Information about the exchange program will be published later this week on stormbowling.com.
“USBC thanks Storm for the collaboration and for working together on a solution for our members,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “There is no perfect solution to this type of problem, but this agreement strikes a balance in protecting the integrity of USBC national tournaments, while giving members a choice to do what is best for them locally.”
As part of the agreement, Storm Products will discontinue sales of the affected balls. USBC has concluded its investigation and will not be taking action on additional balls related to this production issue.
“Storm appreciates USBC working with us on this agreement, so we can put the issue behind us and focus on our customers,” Storm Products President Dave Symes said. “Customer satisfaction has always been our top priority, and we will take care of our customers.”
This agreement does not change the status of the Storm Spectre. The Spectre remains unapproved and on USBC’s non-conforming ball list.
Go to BOWL.com/EquipAndSpecs to learn more about the equipment specifications.
ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress has revoked approval of Purple Hammer bowling balls manufactured in 2016 and 2017. These model years are removed from the list of balls approved for USBC competition effective March 21, 2022. These model years of the Purple Hammer may no longer be used in any USBC-certified competition, including all USBC leagues and tournaments.
Purple Hammer bowling balls manufactured during 2016 or 2017 are identified by serial numbers that start with either a “6” or “7.”
USBC investigated allegations that a portion of the Purple Hammer bowling balls manufactured at the Ebonite International plant in 2016 and 2017 were produced below USBC’s minimum hardness specification at that time of 72D. The Hammer brand was purchased by Brunswick Bowling Products in 2019, and the Ebonite plant subsequently closed.
After a former Ebonite employee made public comments on this matter, USBC conducted an investigation. USBC interviewed more than a dozen individuals, including former Ebonite employees, in an attempt to validate the claim. Brunswick fully cooperated with the investigation. USBC announced its initial findings on March 7, 2022, that included a national tournament rule prohibiting use of the 2016 and 2017 Purple Hammer.
Following that announcement, additional information was provided to USBC causing the investigation to be reopened. Four additional interviews were conducted.
USBC has the authority to revoke approval of a bowling ball if it determines production balls do not comply with current specifications outlined in the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual. Based upon all the information gathered in the investigation, USBC now has made this determination about the 2016 and 2017 Purple Hammers.
During USBC’s investigation, former Ebonite employees, including ones with first-hand knowledge, provided detailed statements to USBC outlining how processes in 2016 and 2017 led to some Purple Hammers being produced and sent to the field below 72D. Multiple former Ebonite employees confirm that a production change took place in 2017 to raise the hardness of Purple Hammers produced in 2018 and 2019.
USBC has shared its determination with Brunswick and has Brunswick’s support. Brunswick will continue to offer owners of 2016 or 2017 Purple Hammers the option to exchange their balls for a new Purple Hammer or a product of their choice. This can be done on-site at the 2022 USBC Open Championships or USBC Women’s Championships, by claiming a replacement ball at www.hammerbowling.com/Purple, or by contacting Brunswick at email@example.com or 800-937-2695.
Unapproved bowling balls may not be used in USBC-certified competition. Bowlers who used 2016 and 2017 Purple Hammers in competition before March 21, 2022, with no prior knowledge of their balls being out of specification, would not be subject to forfeiture under USBC rules.
ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress has revoked approval of the Storm Spectre bowling ball and removed it from the list of balls approved for USBC competition effective March 14, 2022. The revocation comes after USBC determined through its spot-checking procedures that a significant percentage of the balls produced do not comply with specifications and requirements outlined in the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual.
USBC testing showed a significant percentage of the Storm Spectre do not meet the minimum 73D hardness specification during spot checks of bowling balls in the field. The ball originally was approved based on samples submitted by Storm. The Spectre had been approved for competition in December 2021.
The USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual details USBC governance in this situation. The manual states that a statistical analysis from spot-checked balls will be used to determine the percentage of non-conformance based on DPMO (defects per million opportunities). The manual further states:
Ball approval can be revoked if the process capability shows the model has greater than 5.0% defects (50,000 out of 1,000,000 DPMO-Defects Per Million Opportunities) outside of any spec limit.
The statistical analysis of the Storm Spectre indicated a defect rate of 98.6%, meaning that 98.6% of Spectre balls are projected to be outside USBC’s hardness specification limit. USBC tested balls from multiple batches, and the non-conformance was not limited to a specific batch.
Pursuant to the penalties outlined in the USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual, Storm is placed on probationary status with USBC for one year, and subject to a fine of $8,000.
USBC publishes a standard operating procedure to determine hardness of a bowling ball using a digital durometer. The USBC Equipment Specifications Manual states that balls must meet technical specifications when tested at USBC headquarters using the official USBC test equipment. USBC provides all manufacturers the option of calibrating their durometers against the USBC approval durometer, so manufacturers can create consistent quality testing processes.
USBC provided all test data to Storm and gave the company opportunity to comment or provide additional information prior to USBC announcing approval revocation of the Spectre ball.
Unapproved bowling balls may not be used in USBC-certified competition. Bowlers who used the Spectre in competition before March 14, 2022, with no prior knowledge of their balls being out of specification would not be subject to forfeiture under USBC rules.
Go to BOWL.com/EquipAndSpecs to learn more about the equipment specifications.
SMART PROGRAM MAKES $7 MILLION EARNING ALLOCATION; ACTIVE RECIPIENTS RECEIVE NEARLY $1,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS AND $1.2 MILLION DESIGNATED FOR PELL GRANT MATCH
ARLINGTON, Texas – The USBC Scholarship Management and Account Reporting for Tenpins (SMART) program is making an investment earnings allocation of $7 million to provide additional scholarships for youth bowlers. The $7 million allocation matches the largest investment earnings allocation in SMART history.
Due to new policy adopted in 2021, a portion of the allocation will immediately go to new scholarships for youth bowlers. Included in this allocation (approximate numbers):
- $3.6 million in bonus scholarships to the 3,707 active SMART Recipients. These are students who requested use of SMART funds in 2021. Each student will immediately receive a new $980 SMART scholarship.
- $2.2 million in new SMART deposited unassigned funds for Providers to allocate. This is in addition to the new $2.7 million SMART deposited unassigned funds Providers received for allocation in January from expired Recipient accounts.
- $1.2 million set aside for the new SMART Pell Grant Match.
- USBC’s SMART Committee intends to maintain the annual earnings allocation at $7 million or more through at least 2024, unless investment market conditions significantly change. This will allow SMART Providers and Recipients to plan on similar new funds from SMART for three years.
“The 2022 SMART allocation will immediately change the lives of young bowlers with nearly $1,000 in new scholarship funds hitting every active SMART Recipient’s account,” USBC President Melissa McDaniel said. “With SMART’s intention to maintain at least a $7 million allocation, SMART Providers should aggressively use their unassigned funds with the confidence of consistent new funding in the years ahead. This also allows active Recipients to plan on similar bonus scholarships through 2024 as well.”
The federal Pell Grant is a national program that helps students and families with the greatest financial need pay for college. The new SMART Pell Grant Match will maximize the power of this federal program for bowlers by matching it dollar for dollar. The SMART Pell Grant Match will be available to any student with at least one season of USBC Youth participation and two seasons of overall USBC membership.
Students can request the SMART Pell Grant Match by visiting BOWL.com/SMART. Applications for the SMART Pell Grant Match will be accepted through the end of the year or until the $1.2 million in funding is exhausted.
“The SMART Pell Grant Match provides a new and innovative way for USBC’s SMART program to help students in financial need within our bowling community,” said Frank Wilkinson, chair of the USBC SMART Committee. “We encourage everyone involved in USBC programming to help with awareness about this new grant. Our challenge will be reaching our former youth bowlers to let them know about this fantastic opportunity.”
In 2021, the USBC Board of Directors approved a series of policy changes for SMART, designed to increase scholarship benefits for SMART Recipients. The new policy allocates a portion of investment gains to be awarded as new scholarships in SMART Recipient accounts.
Complete language of the SMART policies and an FAQ guide are published on BOWL.com