In August, the head of a team of scientists studying the surge in home runs in Major League Baseball told USA TODAY Sports the mystery of MLB’s so-called juiced baseballs might be solved.

“The smoking gun may very well have been found,’’ Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at University of Illinois, said at the time.

But on Wednesday, in the first public update on the scientists’ research since his comments, Nathan made clear no smoking gun has been found — and the mystery around MLB’s baseballs remains largely unsolved.

So what happened between August and Wednesday?

Nathan’s confidence was based on the research of Lloyd Smith, a Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State and a member of MLB’s original 10-person scientific committee to study the baseballs. Smith had focused his research on the correlation between the seam height of the baseballs and a decrease in drag that helps account for the spike home runs.

“We observed in April from improved measurements of drag and seam height that there was a correlation between drag and seam height,’’ Smith told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “And we did a pilot study in the spring and found a very strong correlation.’’

But when the data set was expanded, Smith said, the strength of the correlation between the seam height and the drag “diminished.” He said it turns out seam height accounts for only about a third of the decreased drag and what accounts for the other two-thirds is remains unknown.

A view of a baseball at Washington State University's Sports Science Lab.

In August, Smith told USA TODAY Sports that MLB was weeks away from being able to make an announcement about the findings. But no announcement was made until Wednesday.

“Part of the reason in holding that (announcement) was exactly the complex message that came across today and is the exact reason why the report wasn’t released earlier, because it is very complex,’’ he said.

Nathan, the chairman of the committee of scientists backed by MLB, did not immediately return requests for comment.

Smith said he will continue to participate in the ongoing study of the baseballs with MLB’s financial support.

“I would say there’s even greater interest now to continue on,’’ he said.