Splitzter - March 20, 2003

  A few weeks ago, I devoted a column to discussing the upcoming vote at the ABC convention in Knoxville for the merger of ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling.  That vote has been cast with the delegates rejecting the proposed merger 630-628.  The concept needed a two-thirds majority for approval and would have pooled the 3.4 million members from the four organizations under one membership umbrella.  With YABA and USA Bowling previously passing the plan, WIBC holds the last card to be played in this mini-drama.  The merger proposal needs three of the four bodies to adopt in order for the USBC to be formed.  The ladies will have their delegates vote in Reno, Nevada on April 29.

            ABC Assistant Executive Director Jack Mordini is quoted as stating that the vote “was probably more emotional than based on fact.”  Well, Jack.  While I sometimes think that our bowling leadership comes off as arrogant and far removed from us at the grassroots level, you may have this one right.  It took the ABC three years to hammer out a final draft of the USBC merger plan.  The 170 page plan was sent to the local associations three months before the delegates meeting with the sure-fire vote getter of “pass it as is with no amendments.”  I compare the merger plan to a pork-loaded bill coming out of congress.  The wonderful idea of combining our four bowling organizations under one roof to streamline operations suddenly turned into a massive reconfiguration all the way to the ground level.  Dues increases were automatic. The men and women locally would be forced to merge.  Oh, and by the way.  That’s assuming that there would still be a Henry County Bowling Association.

            With that being said, where do things go from here?  Roger Dalkin, ABC Executive Director, said the organization has contingency plans but will not disclose them until after the WIBC merger vote in April.  Now here’s an interesting twist.  What happens if the WIBC votes to approve the creation of the USBC?  This is nothing against the ladies, but how can the concept of a single membership organization be discussed and have over half the bowling population (ABC members) be excluded?  WIBC Executive Director, Roseann Kuhn, is quoted as stating, “We can be instrumental in becoming the national governing body for bowling.  This is a tremendous opportunity for women to help dictate how this game is played and how we move forward in helping this sport grow.”  Dictate how this game is played?  There’s an interesting thought coming from WIBC’s head spokesperson.  Just how does the USBC plan to change how bowling is played?  If WIBC/YABA/USA Bowling merge, the USBC would apply to the United States Olympic Committee to become bowling’s national governing body.

            This is, in my opinion, becoming a matter of saving face by trying to salvage a flawed idea.  Does anyone take serious the notion that the USBC can be looked upon as bowling’s future without participation of the men?  The concept would have the same outlook if the ABC passed the agenda and the WIBC voted no.  It will take the ABC, WIBC and YABA together in a united effort to do the work of bowling’s sanctioning body.  Without any of the three, there is no unification.

            I’m getting off my soapbox now.  I do get emotional when discussing what’s best for bowling and what’s best for our local league members.

            On a lighter note, Pat Yocom reminds me to mention that monies for the State brackets must be turned in to him by March 27.  Just one more week, boys, then we leave for a glorious weekend in Dayton for State Tournament.  Tis like waiting for Christmas in March.