United States Bowling Congress
|Headquarters||621 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, Texas, U.S.|
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) is a sports membership organization dedicated to ten-pin bowling in the United States. It was formed in 2005 by a merger of the American Bowling Congress — the original codifier of all tenpin bowling standards, rules and regulations from 1895 onwards; the Women's International Bowling Congress — founded in 1916, as the female bowlers' counterpart to the then all-male ABC; the Young American Bowling Alliance, and USA Bowling. The USBC's headquarters are located in Arlington, Texas, after having moved from the Milwaukee suburb of Greendale, Wisconsin in November, 2008. The move enabled the USBC to combine its operations with the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA).
The USBC is the national governing body for ten-pin bowling in the United States. It has approximately 3,000 local associations across the USA serving over 2 million members. Among its duties and responsibilities to these members are:
- Maintain specifications, conduct research testing for, and certify: bowling lanes, lane dressings, pin setting and ball return equipment, bowling pins, bowling balls and other bowling-related products.
- Establish and publish playing rules, and provide counselors to help interpret them.
- Certify leagues and tournaments.
- Protect the financial investment of certified leagues through its league bonding program.
- Manage Team USA as it competes in international tournaments.
- Conduct championship tournaments: USBC Masters, USBC Queens, USBC Open Championships, USBC Women's Championships, USBC Youth Open, USBC Junior Gold Championships, USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships, USBC Senior Masters, USBC Senior Queens, Team USA Trials, USBC Senior Championships and Pepsi USBC Youth Championships.
- Provides 'Lifetime Achievement' awards, one award only for achievements (300 games and 800 series for three games, among others) accomplished in USBC-sanctioned leagues or tournaments.
- Maintain historical records of bowler averages for use in USBC-sanctioned leagues and tournaments.
- Certify coaches for both youth and adult bowlers.
- Regulate and promote high school and collegiate bowling.
- Manage SMART (Scholarship Management and Accounting Report for Tenpins), the only youth scholarship fund recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), through a separate corporation.
Moses Bensinger was influential in setting up the American Bowling Congress (A.B.C.) in 1895. On September 9, 1895, the A.B.C. was officially formed as a permanent organization at Beethoven Hall on east Fifth Street in New York City. The A.B.C. had their first formal annual meeting four days later on September 13 at the Elephant club on Fulton Street in Brooklyn and adopted the proposed constitution and by-laws. The new organization took effect officially on October 15, 1895. It is a legislative body that enforces uniform bowlers' rules and regulations, through a set of by-laws and a constitution of Articles, for all in the United States to follow as the official standard for ten-pin bowling. The A.B.C. standardizes and governs all bowling equipment as well for modern ten-pin bowling. It is much like the baseball National League and the Bicycle law in the United States. This was a codification of the preexisting rules and regulations through the by-laws of the American Bowling Congress. It eliminated gambling on contests, since then prize money could be earned honestly in tournaments. This was done by a uniform method of scoring that was enforceable by the A.B.C. bowling laws that then made it fair for all bowlers throughout the United States. Bowling equipment made by the Brunswick Company, like the alleys, pins and balls, were uniform based on certain measurements and requirements set in place by the American Bowling Congress. All the large national bowling centers with regulation Brunswick equipment were under the constitution and by-laws of the A.B.C. organization by 1905.
Historically, the membership of the ABC was all male (white males only in 1916-1950), but beginning in 1993 women were permitted to join. In 1916 the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC) was formed by a group of 40 women, and up until 2004 served as a partner organization of the ABC. The Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) was established in 1982, after previously existing as the American Junior Bowling Congress founded in 1958, to serve youth bowlers from pre-school through collegiate level. Prior to the formation of the USBC, the national governing body for bowling was USA Bowling, which oversaw the participation of Team USA in international events. These four organizations merged to form USBC on January 1, 2005.
USBC Hall of Fame
Through 2015, there are 412 Hall of Fame members in five categories:
- Superior Performance (215)
- Meritorious Service (116)
- Veterans (49)
- Pioneer (20)
- Outstanding USBC Performance (12)*
* Category introduced in 2011, with Jeff Richgels as the inaugural member.
The USBC Hall of Fame has its home at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame on the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas. The induction ceremony is held annually in the spring.
USBC in the Media
The USBC Masters, one of four major tournaments on the PBA Tour, is conducted by the USBC with the finals televised live on ESPN as a part of the PBA Tour. The 2013 event was won by Australian Jason Belmonte
The USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, a.k.a. ITC, the national championship of collegiate bowling, is conducted by USBC and has been televised on a tape-delay basis since 2002. For the first time, in 2012, USBC also televised the Intercollegiate Singles Championships as part of a four-week series on CBS Sports Network. Both events were televised in high definition for the first time in 2012.
USBC was the presenting sponsor of the PBA Women's Series for three seasons, beginning with the 2007-08 season. In the 2009-10 season, USBC changed the name of its presenting sponsorship to BOWL.com, the organization's website, which was re-launched on August 3, 2009. USBC did not renew its sponsorship for the 2010-11 season.
In 2007, USBC acquired the rights to the U.S. Women's Open from the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA). The event, which had been on a three-year hiatus since the disbanding of the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) in 2003, was telecast for five weeks on ESPN in September–October, 2007. ESPN again held multi-week broadcasts of the event in 2008, while ESPN2 did the same in 2009. In 2010, USBC reverted to a more traditional format and a one-day stepladder-style TV finals, airing live on ESPN2. That event was held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, with Kelly Kulick winning. Kulick became the first bowler ever to win the USBC Queens and US Women's Open in the same year. USBC announced in May, 2010 that it would not conduct the US Women's Open in 2011, as the BPAA had agreed to resume its association with the tournament. The TV finals took place June 30, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where Leanne Hulsenberg was crowned champion.
In May 2008, USBC conducted a special, made-for-TV event called "Bowling's Clash of the Champions." The taped telecast was broadcast May 10 and 11 on CBS, marking the first time bowling had been broadcast on regular network television since June 26, 1999. The event featured eight male and eight female bowlers representing youth, college, senior, amateur and professional bowlers who had won recent USBC titles. It was won by Lynda Barnes. The event returned to CBS in 2009, when it was won by Chris Barnes, Lynda's husband.
In 2009, USBC began showing championship competition live on its website, BOWL.com. This offering, which is free to all users, was designed to give viewers additional coverage of events that they wouldn't normally see. In 2011, USBC moved this coverage to its YouTube channel, YouTube.com/BowlTV. BowlTV's coverage was primarily anchored by Lucas Wiseman before he left the organization in December 2015.
USBC rule changes
USBC rule changes occur at the national convention, and take effect for leagues starting after August 1 of each year. Rule changes are published in a new printed guide every two years. Updated rulebooks are available online at bowl.com.
The SMART program (Scholarship Management and Accounting Report for Tenpins) was established in 1994 in order to manage and store bowling scholarships until the youth bowler requests the use of the scholarships for college. The bowling scholarships can be from winning tournaments to filling out scholarship application forms. Recently the validity of the term "scholarship" for the SMART program has been questioned by the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association). The association questions where the education requirements are in earning the "scholarships." Most bowling scholarships earned are from winning a tournament, and are awarded as a cash prize in the form of a scholarship with no GPA or formal scholarly work necessary to claim the money once in college. This in turn has caused the MHSAA to rule high school athletes "ineligible" due to "accepting cash, checks, or any other form of award over $25 in value." This rule is highly debated and has questionable means of enforcement. To receive such scholarships, the athlete must simply sign into their SMART account and fill out the necessary information whereupon the money is sent directly to the schools, not given to the athlete themselves. There are special circumstances which allow money be sent directly to the athlete.
- Miller, Mark. "Preparations for USBC's new home in Texas begin." Article at www.bowl.com, July 23, 2008.
- United States Bowling Congress "About USBC" page
- Jones 2012, p. 66.
- Riess & Gems 2009, p. 13.
- Pfister 2013, p. 47.
- Mitchell 2001, p. 401.
- Martin & Lehman 1994, p. 298.
- Cayton, Andrew R. L., Editor; Sisson, Richard; Zacher, Chris. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
In 1895, Moses Bensinger of the Brunswick Company founded the primarily mid-western American Bowling Congress.
- Bunyan 2010, p. 164.
- "New Rules for Bowlers". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. September 10, 1895 – via Newspapers.com .
- "American Bowling Congress". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. December 30, 1895 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Bowlers leave today for Buffalo Congress". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. January 19, 1902 – via Newspapers.com .
- Belsky 2016, p. 190.
- "American Bowling Congress / It will introduce uniform playing Rules throughout the country". St. Louis Dispatch. St. Louis. January 22, 1896 – via Newspapers.com .
- "A.B.C. Institutes Tourney Reforms". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 1, 1911 – via Newspapers.com .
- "A Bowling Congress". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. January 14, 1896 – via Newspapers.com .
- Schmidt 2007, p. 4.
- Grasso & Hartman 2014, p. 27.
- "New Bowling Rules". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. October 12, 1895 – via Newspapers.com .
- "BOWLING". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. January 19, 1945 – via Newspapers.com .
- Rotary International 1960, p. 57.
- Wiedman 2015, p. 9.
- Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 407.
- "Among the Local Bowlers". Pittsburgh Daily Post. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. September 11, 1903 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Western Bowlers Firm". Indianapolis News. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 27, 1904 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Another Row at the Tourney". Minneapolis. Minneapolis, Minnesota. March 22, 1906 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Tourney Trouble". Morning News. Wilmington, Delaware. March 23, 1906 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Trouble Started in Bowling Meet". Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake, Utah. March 24, 1906 – via Newspapers.com .
- De Puy 1908, p. 552.
- Werner Company 1905, p. 562.
- "Bowling Notes". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. October 25, 1900 – via Newspapers.com .
- "American Bowling Congress restricts weight of ball to 16 1/2 pounds". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. February 24, 1903 – via Newspapers.com .
- "On The Bowling Alleys". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. January 15, 1905 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Champion Bowlers compete for $10,000 in prizes". Arkansas Democrat. Little Rock, Arkansas. February 19, 1905 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Big Bowling Tourney Is On". Reading Times. Reading, Pennsylvania. February 20, 1905 – via Newspapers.com .
- United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame official webpage. USBC website. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
- Cannizzaro, Matt (December 30, 2015). "Adler, Durbin to join USBC Hall of Fame in 2016". bowl.com. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- United States Bowling Congress "Hall of Fame" page
- Australia’s Jason Belmonte Wins First Major, Tops Wes Malott in USBC Masters Title Match, pba.com on Feb. 24, 2013.
- Official Queens webpage
- Official ITC webpage
- Official ISC webpage
- USBC press release
- USOC's official bowling webpage
- BPAA press release
- "Special event brings bowling back to network television" January 22, 2008.
- Bill Zuben
- Bowling Digital
- Lucas Wiseman, the main voice of BowlTV, leaves USBC after 13 successful years
- "USBC SMART Program Manual" (PDF). USBC SMART Program. United States Bowling Congress. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- Allen, Randy. "MHSAA Bowling Coaches Rules Meeting PowerPoint". MHSAA Bowling Coaches Rules Meeting. MHSAA. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "USBC SMART Program Manual" (PDF). USBC SMART Program. United States Bowling Congress. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- Belsky, Gary (19 April 2016). On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody's Favorite Games. Artisan. ISBN 978-1-57965-712-3.
- Bunyan, Patrick (1 November 2010). All Around the Town: Amazing Manhattan Facts and Curiosities. Fordham Univ Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-3174-4.
- Cayton, Andrew R. L. (8 November 2006). The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-00349-0.
In 1895, Moses Bensinger of the Brunswick Company founded the primarily midwestern American Bowling Congress.
- Gems, Gerald R. (January 2009). The Chicago Sports Reader. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07615-2.
Moses Bensinger, the heir to Brunswick, was bowling's biggest supporter. He pushed the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company in the 1890s to manufacturer bowling equipment, hired traveling all-star teams to promote his products, and in 1895 helped organize the American Bowling Congress (ABC).
- Haller, Charles R. (1 January 2001). German-American Business Biographies: High Finance and Big Business. Money Tree Imprints. ISBN 978-0-9703748-1-3.
- Grasso, John; Hartman, Eric R. (7 August 2014). Historical Dictionary of Bowling. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8108-8022-1.
- Jones, Jenny M. (15 September 2012). The Big Lebowski: An Illustrated, Annotated History of the Greatest Cult Film of All Time. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4279-4.
- Marquis, Albert Nelson (1911). The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of Chicago, 1911. A.N. Marquis.
- Martin, Susan Boyles; Lehman, Jeffrey (1 November 1994). Notable Corporate Chronologies. Gale Group. ISBN 978-0-8103-9217-5.
1895 Sept - A group of bowlers and proprietors, organized and headed by Bensinger, meet to discuss the standardization of bowling rules and regulations, thereby forming the American Bowling Congress.
- Mitchell, Julie A. (2001). Notable Corporate Chronologies: A-K. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Group. ISBN 978-0-7876-5050-6.
A group of bowlers and proprietors, organized and headed by Bensinger, meet to discuss the standardization of bowling rules and regulations, thereby forming the American Bowling Congress (ABC).
- National Cyclopaedia (1910). Moses Bensinger. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. J. T. White Company.
- Pfister, Gertrud (18 October 2013). Gymnastics, a Transatlantic Movement: From Europe to America. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-96542-8.
Moses Bensinger since the 1870s, engineered mergers with business rivals and orchestrated the founding of the ABC, which standardized rules and equipment.
- Rapoport, Ron (1 October 2001). Chicago: City in the Spotlight. Towery Pub. ISBN 978-1-881096-95-5.
Bensinger was a founding member of the American Bowling Congress (ABC), and he campaigned eloquently for a national bowling championship. His vision became a reality in 1901, when the first ABC tournament was held in Chicago.
- Riess, Steven A.; Gems, Gerald R. (20 February 2009). The Chicago Sports Reader: 100 Years of Sports in the Windy City. Sport and Society Series (1st ed.). Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. p. 13. ISBN 9780252076152.
- Rotary International (March 1960). The Rotarian. Rotary International. ISSN 0035-838X.
- Schmidt, Doug (2007). They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital. Wisconsin Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87020-387-9.
- St. James Press (2006). International Directory of Company Histories. ISBN 978-1-55862-581-5.
Bensinger also was instrumental in organizing the American Bowling Congress in 1895.
- Vierow, Howard L. (1938). The Chicago Recreation Survey, 1937. Chicago Recreation Commission and Northwestern University.
The first regulation bowling alley in the city of Chicago was installed in 1891 in the Plaza Hotel, situated at Clark Street and North Avenue.