Amateur Athletic Union
|Amateur Athletic Union of The United States|
|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. 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.
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. 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:
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, such as a prohibition on women participating in running events. This included the dissemination of "unfounded" scientific research that women who ran more than a few miles risked infertility. Since the 1970's, however, the American Fertility Association has stated that "the rigors of long-distance running or military training are stressful enough to reduce fertility by preventing ovulation". Also, "excessive exercise (such as regular long-distance running) can affect your hormone balance which can affect ovulation". 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.
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.
- 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.
- Butler, Charles (19 October 2012). "40 Years Ago, Six Women Changed Racing Forever". Runner's World Magazine. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Mendell, Patricia. "The American Fertility Association's Top Ten Fertility Myths". The American Fertility Association. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Infertility - a Basic Understanding". Patient.co.uk. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "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.
- 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