Amateur Athletic Union
|Motto||"Sports for All, Forever."|
|Formation||January 21, 1888|
|Type||Amateur Sports Organization|
|Headquarters||Lake Buena Vista, Florida|
|Membership||205 National Olympic Committees|
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.
The AAU was founded in 1888 by William Buckingham Curtis to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport.1 During its early years the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the United States in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games.
After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 broke up the AAU's responsibility as the national Olympic sports governing body, the AAU focused on providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the local and regional levels. The philosophy of the AAU is "Sports for All, Forever." The AAU is divided into 56 distinct Districts, which annually sanction 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. The AAU events have over 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers.
Programs offered by the AAU include: AAU Sports Program, AAU Junior Olympic Games, AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award and the AAU Complete Athlete Program. In addition, the President's Challenge program is administered on behalf of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The AAU has 33 national committees to organize its activities in particular sports.2
In 1994, the AAU joined forces with the Walt Disney World Resort, signing a 30-year agreement. As part of that agreement, many of AAU's national championships in many sports are played at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.3 In 1996, the AAU relocated its national headquarters to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, adjacent to Disney World. More than 40 AAU national events are conducted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The ESPN Wide World of Sports features a double-deck 7,500—seat baseball stadium and baseball quadraplex, a fieldhouse that accommodates up to six hardwood courts, a softball quadraplex, two youth baseball fields, a track and field complex, and four multi-purpose performance fields sized for soccer tournaments.
AAU operates under a 501(c)(3) tax-exemption letter granted by the federal government in 1996.
The Amateur Athletic Union offers participants sports teams in their local community that they can join and compete with other athletes their own age. There are teams in most sports ranging from 9U to 18U, allowing children to play for championships in sports against other children similar in age and athletic development.
The AAU offers sports teams in:
- William Buckingham Curtis 1895
- George Franklin Pawling 1910 to 1911.
- Gustavus Town Kirby 1911 to 1912.45
- Alfred John Lill, Jr. 1913 to 1914.46
- Louis Stout 2012
- Henry Forrest 2013.
In the early 1970s, The AAU became the subject of criticism, notably by outspoken track star Steve Prefontaine, over the living conditions for amateur athletes under the AAU, as well as arbitrary rules.7 Congress adopted the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 in response to such criticisms, effectively removing the organization from any governance role. The AAU now continues as a voluntary organization largely promoting youth sports.
In 2008, The AAU also found itself under scrutiny over privacy of information of athletes. A local news station near the AAU Headquarters found boxes of personal information thrown out in dumpsters, raising questions about the organization's handling of private data.8
In the wake of sexual scandals that hit two US universities, Penn State and Syracuse, involving acts of sexual abuse with children, charges have also reached the AAU in Memphis, TN. through the alleged misconduct of then President Robert W. "Bobby" Dodd.9
Since at least 1914 the Amateur Athletic Union barred women athletes from competing in events that it sponsored.10 In 1914 they changed their rules and allowed women to compete in a limited number of swimming events.11 Just two years later in 1916, they AAU was looking to discontinue their experiment in allowing women at swimming events.12
In 1922 the Metropolitan AAU in New York City approved a larger program of sanctioned events for women but still barred them from running events over one-half mile because they were considered too strenuous.13 The reason given for barring women was that if a woman was allowed to run more than a half-mile they would put their reproductive health at risk.714
In 1961 the Amateur Athletic Union still prohibited women from competing in road running events and even if organizers broke the rule and allowed a woman to participate, her results would not be counted in the official race results.14 In 1970 the first New York City Marathon ignored the AAU rules and allowed women in the event even if it meant that their scores would not be official. For the second New York City Marathon in 1971 the AAU allowed women to participate if they started the race 10 minutes before, or 10 minutes after the men, or if they ran a separate but equal course.7 By 1974 women were becoming more vocal about their restrictions.15 The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 removed the AAU from setting rules.
- William Buckingham "Father Bill" Curtis: Founder of the U.S. Olympic Committee, by Lowell M. Seida (1998)
- "AAU Official website". Retrieved May 22, 2008.
- "The History of AAU Basketball". Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "Lill New President Of Athletic Union. Boston Man Elected as Head of Amateur Body to Succeed Kirby.". New York Times. November 18, 1913. Retrieved 2013-12-24. "Alfred J. Lill, Jr., of Boston was elected President of the Amateur Athletic Union yesterday at the twenty-sixth annual convention of the national governing athletic ..."
- "G.T. Kirby Elected President Of A.A.U. Columbia University Man Defeats George W. [sic] Pawling for Athletic Office". New York Times. November 11, 1912. Retrieved 2013-12-24. "Gustavus Town Kirby of this city was elected President of the Amateur Athletic Union yesterday at the twenty-fourth annual meeting of the delegates of the various sectional associations who assembled at the Waldorf-Astoria from nearly every State in the Union. There was one other contender for this highest honor in the giving of the governing body in track, field, and many other amateur sports, he being George W. Pawling of Philadelphia. ..."
- "Amateur Athletic Union". Mind and Body. 1914. Retrieved 2013-12-24. "At the annual meeting of the Amateur Athletic Union Nov. 16 Alfred J. Lill, Jr., of Boston was unanimously re-elected President for the ensuing year. ..."
- Charles Butler (October 19, 2012). "40 Years Ago, Six Women Changed Racing Forever". Runner's World. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "Lebow and his fellow organizers had openly courted women when the first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, even going so far as to ignore rules put in place by the Amateur Athletic Union that barred women from marathon racecourses. ..."
- "Dumpster Full Of Amateur Athletes' Records Found At Storage Complex". Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
- "Amateur Athletic Union probes abuse charges against ex leader". Reuters. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- "A.A.U. Ban on Women. Female Athletes Barred from Competitions Sanctioned by Union". New York Times. January 18, 1914. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "As a result of the recent agitation to permit enrollment of women athletes in the ranks of the Amateur Athletic Union a mail vote has been taken on the subject with the result that the Union has decided by an overwhelming vote to refuse registration to women athletes in all sports and competitions controlled by the A.A.U. ..."
- "Women Swimmers and A.A.U". New York Times. November 22, 1914. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "While the unexpected action of the Amateur Athletic Union in permitting women swimmers to register hereafter and to compete at sanctioned meets ..."
- "A.A.U. May Discard Women's Swimming. After Two Years' Trial Question Will Come Before Annual Convention". New York Times. October 31, 1916. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "The question whether the Amateur Athletic Union shall continue to recognize and control women swimmers will be one of the principal issues at the annual convention of that body, to be held in this city on Nov. 20. ..."
- "Women's Program Is Ready For Vote. Met. A. A. U. to Pass on Rulings for Athletic Competition at Friday Meeting". New York Times. December 13, 1922. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "A standard programme for women's athletic competition in the local district will be adopted Friday night at a meeting of the Metropolitan A. A. U.'s Committee on Women's Athletics, to be held in the Park Avenue Hotel. ..."
- Jeré Longman (October 25, 2011). "A Leading Pioneer". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "In 1961, the Amateur Athletic Union prohibited American women from competing officially in road races. When sympathetic race organizers allowed them entry, their results did not count. ..."
- "Women Rebelling In Track. Trackwomen Rebelling Against A.A.U. Policies". New York Times. February 27, 1974. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "Growing discontent with the policies and practices of the Amateur Athletic Union is causing a rebellion in women's track and field. At a time when the sport has made significant strides in gaining recognition in this country, a series of events last week indicated a deterioration between national officials and individual coaches and athletes. ..."
- Amateur Athletic Union official website
- AAU Junior Olympics Official website
- AAU Baseball Official website
- AAU Boys Basketball Official Website
- AAU Girls Basketball Official Website
- AAU Soccer Official Website
- AAU Lacrosse New England Official Website
- AAU 2008 Junior Olympics Coverage, An Official Partnership Between AAU and GoTrybe
- AAU Official Partner - GoTrybe