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      November 02, 2002:

-ABC, WIBC, YABA, USA Bowling Boards Move United States Bowling Congress Forward

11/02/2002 - Bowling Newsline
      Greendale, Wis. -- The movement to merge bowling's membership organizations took a giant step forward today when the American Bowling Congress, Women's International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling boards of directors approved the plan of merger to create an organization to be called the United States Bowling Congress.

      The decisions made during individual and joint board meetings this weekend in suburban Milwaukee. They came after review of the 200-page final proposal from the ad hoc committees appointed by the merging associations.

      Approval by the ABC board means ABC Convention delegates will vote on the proposal March 14 in Knoxville, Tenn.

      "I commend our board for listening to the facts, making changes when necessary and voting for this proposal," said ABC Executive Director Roger Dalkin. "I believe when our delegates see the entire revised proposal and have all their questions answered, they will join us in believing this is the right thing to do."

      The WIBC board's approval means it will present a motion at the 2003 WIBC Annual Meeting in Reno, Nev., to rescind the 2002 delegate action to delay the vote until 2004. If that motion passes, the WIBC delegation will vote on the proposal April 29.

      "The action of the WIBC Board of Directors shows the group's faith in the process and firm belief that this truly is in the best interest of organized bowling," said WIBC Executive Director Roseann Kuhn. "Our Board is of the opinion it only makes good business sense to proceed side by side with ABC, YABA and USAB so that all members, and especially female members, have an equal say in how the consolidated organization will be determined and will have an integral part in its operation once it is up and running.

      "Leadership roles for women are very important, and in order to make sure that happens, WIBC needs to be at the same negotiating table at the same time with ABC, YABA and USAB," Kuhn added. "It is extremely critical for WIBC delegates to consider the SMO proposal in the same year as ABC, YABA and USAB. Making a decision in 2004 will not guarantee a role in the formation and operation of a USBC."

      If approved, it would be one the largest non-profit mergers in United States history. Currently ABC has nearly 1.7 million members, WIBC nearly 1.3 million and YABA nearly 400,000 members. Joining them together with USA Bowling would create one organization with nearly 3.4 million members. It would seek recognition as the governing body for bowling in the United States.

      Two-thirds of the ABC and WIBC delegates must approve the proposal for their respective organizations to accept it. Because the YABA and USA Bowling boards approved the proposal, the merger can occur if either the ABC or WIBC delegations approve it.

      "Our board believes the final proposal will be good for youth bowlers," said YABA Executive Director Jim Zebehazy. "The board also agreed it will be good for all of bowling."

      "From our standpoint, this will bring more focus on the athletes who represent our country," said USA Bowling Executive Director Jerry Koenig. "We view this merger as an opportunity, for the first time, for athletes to be represented at the highest policy making levels of the sport."

      Seen as a better way to do business, it is an effort to eliminate costly duplication of services. The proposed USBC is estimated to save millions in operational costs in its first five years. It is expected to recoup all transition costs within two years.

      If the merger is approved, the transition would begin in summer 2003. The new organization would be launched Jan. 1, 2004, the day after the national organizations dissolve. ABC, WIBC and YABA local and state associations would have until July 31, 2008, to consolidate in their areas.

      The complete final proposal will be mailed to all ABC and WIBC local and state associations and convention/annual meeting delegates and posted on bowl.com by mid-December.

      To help answer questions about the proposal, a 22-city Whistle Stop tour will be held in January, February and March. Leaders from the membership organizations will be present at each location. The tentative Whistle Stop tour:

Jan. 11 - Atlanta and Sacramento, Calif.
Jan. 12 - Orlando, Fla.; and Olympia, Wash.
Jan. 18 - Pittsburgh and Indianapolis
Jan. 19 - Baltimore and Lansing, Mich.
Feb. 1 - Dallas and Syracuse, N.Y.
Feb. 2 - San Antonio and Westchester County, N.Y.
Feb. 15 - Omaha, Neb. and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Feb. 16 - Oklahoma City, Okla., and Pewaukee, Wis.
Feb. 22 - Orange County, Calif.
Feb. 23 - Phoenix
March 1 - Cleveland and St. Louis
March 2 - Louisville, Ky., and Joliet, Ill.

      The single membership organization feasibility study was started jointly in January 2000 to consolidate ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling and formed the Single Membership Organization Task Force to research the concept. Later, experts in non-profit mergers and consolidations were consulted. After initial reports by the Task Force in 2001, the ad hoc committees, which included local/state association leaders, were appointed by the organizations to further develop the plan. After listening to feedback from thousands of members, convention delegates, association officials, national board members and others, the committees presented its status report in Spring 2002. Further modifications led to the proposal presented to the respective merging organizations' boards of directors.


-YABA Board Unanimously Votes To Join Proposed Single Membership Organization

11/02/2002 - Bowling Newsline
      GREENDALE, Wis. -- The Young American Bowling Alliance's Board of Directors has unanimously voted and approved the plan of merger to create an organization to be called the United States Bowling Congress. It matches similar approvals by the boards of the American Bowling Congress, Women's International Bowling Congress and USA Bowling.

      The decisions were made during individual and joint board meetings this weekend in suburban Milwaukee after a review of the 200-page final proposal from the ad hoc committees appointed by the merging associations.

      Seen as a better way to do business, the proposed merger is an effort to eliminate costly duplication of services. If approved by ABC/WIBC delegates in 2003, it would be one the largest non-profit mergers in United States history. Currently ABC has nearly 1.7 million members, WIBC nearly 1.3 million and YABA nearly 400,000 members. Joining them together with USA Bowling would create one organization with nearly 3.4 million members. It would be recognized as the governing body for bowling in the United States.

      "On behalf of the YABA Board, I'm happy to announce that our decision to join the USBC is a positive move for our youth members and the bowling industry," said YABA President Cathy Cooper. "With our unanimous vote we hope to encourage everyone to do what is best for bowling, and we hope that delegates of the Women's International Bowling Congress and the American Bowling Congress agree."

      Because YABA and USA Bowling do not have convention delegates, their boards' votes represent their organizations' final approval. ABC will present the plan of merger to their delegates for final approval at the 2003 ABC Convention March 14 in Knoxville, Tenn. WIBC will present the plan of merger to their delegates at the 2003 WIBC Annual Meeting in Reno, Nev., if a motion to rescind the 2002 delegate action to delay the vote to 2004 takes place. If the motion to rescind passes, the WIBC delegation will then vote on the proposal April 29.

      "Our youth members were at the heart of every decision we made," said YABA Executive Director Jim Zebehazy. "This plan of merger ensures that youth are not lost in the new organization. In fact, the committees worked especially hard to address all YABA concerns and make sure that the creation of the USBC is a positive move for bowling and our youth members."


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