March 17, 2003:
Bowling's Future Is Now In The Hands Of WIBC's Delegation
03/17/2003 - Bowling Newsline
Because delegates to the American Bowling Congress Convention failed to approve the plan to create the United States Bowling Congress, the fate of the sport of bowling squarely rests with the Women's International Bowling Congress.
That was what WIBC President Sylvia Broyles told the WIBC Board of Directors during a conference call following the March 14 decision by ABC's delegates to reject the proposed Plan of Merger with WIBC, Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling. WIBC's board gave Broyles its full support of continuing to champion the movement toward USBC.
"It is time for women to take a leadership role, just as they did in 1916 when the WIBC was formed, and vote to approve the Plan of Merger with YABA and USA Bowling," Broyles said.
ABC's delegates voted 630-628 against the proposal in Knoxville, Tenn. The merger plan originally was intended to join ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling into one organization serving men, women and youth bowlers. That changed when a two-thirds majority was not reached by ABC's delegates. Because of that vote, WIBC's delegation can move to the forefront of the sport if it approves the proposal April 29 in Reno, Nev. If it does, WIBC Executive Director Roseann Kuhn strongly believes bowling can be taken in an exciting new direction.
"If our delegation approves the plan to create USBC, we will join with the Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling to form an organization serving men, women and youth bowlers in this country," Kuhn said.
Part of that leadership would come because the USBC would apply to the United States Olympic Committee to become bowling's national governing body. Because ABC's delegates voted not to become part of the USBC, it would be a separate organization serving adults, but not youth bowlers.
"We can be instrumental in becoming the national governing body for bowling," Kuhn said. "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."
Kuhn and the WIBC Board are strong in their resolve to continue the mission toward USBC.
"When the 2002 WIBC delegates voted to delay the vote on the plan of merger, ABC, YABA and USA Bowling said they would continue to pursue the plan of merger in 2003 with or without WIBC," Kuhn said. "We plan to do the same even though ABC delegates voted not to support it.
"Skeptics will say the women will be unable to make this happen. This will serve only to motivate them," Kuhn added. "It is time for a 'call to action' of the WIBC delegation to stand up and be counted to unify the industry. If we lose this opportunity, we will never get it again."
Delegates to the WIBC Annual Meeting convene on April 29 to debate and vote on two issues. The first is a motion to rescind the action taken by the delegates at the 2002 WIBC Annual Meeting to delay the vote until 2004. It is debatable, will be a ballot vote, and requires a majority vote. If approved, the Plan of Merger will be introduced, debated, and a decision will be made by a ballot vote. A two-thirds vote of the delegation present and voting is required for adoption of the Plan of Merger.
The WIBC Board plans to communicate directly with each delegate prior to April 29, to provide them with the same information that was provided to the ABC delegates relative to the power and control the delegation will have under the USBC proposal and under the Articles of Incorporation.
"It is extremely important that our delegates have all of the necessary information before them so they can make a wise and informed decision," Kuhn said. "WIBC associations should re-think their original positions because of the leadership opportunities ABC's decision has provided to women."
YABA expresses full support for USBC after ABC delegates vote against proposal
The Young American Bowling Alliance will continue supporting the United States Bowling Congress concept even though delegates to the American Bowling Congress Convention defeated the Plan of Merger to create the new organization March 14 in Knoxville, Tenn.
"The YABA is disappointed the ABC delegates have decided not to be a part of a unified membership organization. We trust the WIBC delegation will see the wisdom behind the formation of the United States Bowling Congress and show a true sense of leadership and accept the merger proposal," said YABA Executive Director Jim Zebehazy.
"The YABA remains in full support of this concept and we believe it, like the youth, is the future of our sport."
The original plan was for ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling to merge into one organization to serve men, women and youth bowlers. The next step is for WIBC's Annual Meeting delegation to consider the proposal April 29 in Reno, Nev.
To consider the proposal, the delegation must approve a motion to rescind a 2002 delegate action to delay the vote at least until 2004.
"YABA encourages the WIBC delegation to accept the merger proposal as we are confident the formation of the USBC is in the best interest of the youth and our industry and we hope the WIBC delegates will not allow misrepresentations and misinformation to sway their opinion," Zebehazy said.
"YABA believes the formation of the USBC is the only hope for saving the membership organizations and assure the future of our industry."
Despite ABC vote BPAA continues support of single membership organization
Despite the historic vote conducted by American Bowling Congress delegates March 14 to reject the proposal to join with the Women's International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling in forming a single membership organization, which would be named the United States Bowling Congress, the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America announced that the association remains committed to a single membership organization should three of the four member bodies support the initiative.
With the positive votes of YABA and USA Bowling, and should the WIBC vote in favor of the proposed SMO at its April Annual Meeting, a single member organization will move forward, and BPAA will recognize the USBC as bowling's official sanctioning and governing body.
During the discussion on the motion at the ABC delegate meeting, there were concerns over the specifics and timing, however, there appeared to be a consensus that the current situation posed a number of growing concerns in today's changing environment. BPAA understands those concerns and is committed to solutions that will advance the sport of bowling.
"We are certainly disappointed in the outcome of the vote of ABC's delegates, especially after years of research, analysis, discussion and preparation for this initiative," said Jack Moran, BPAA President. "Now proprietors, who operate bowling's 'playing fields', look towards the WIBC convention and wait to see if their vote in April will make the single membership organization a reality."