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Published: Wednesday, 3/21/2001

Bowling: Governing bodies ponder radical change

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Three of bowling's biggest national organizations are considering whether to form one large association, and they are asking for feedback from bowlers.

A group was formed in January 2000 to determine whether the American Bowling Congress, Women's International Bowling Congress and the Young American Bowling Alliance should unite.

The group, known as the single membership organization task force (SMOTF), consisted of a team of experts with backgrounds in non-profit associations. It was established to determine if a consolidation of the groups would help alleviate a drastic decline in membership, which has fallen over 33 percent over the past 10 years.

Rob Huss, executive secretary of the Greater Toledo Bowling Association, said membership in the local organization has dropped 20 percent over the past 10 years. He said the proposal to unite the organizations could bring back the nearly 600 bowlers the group has lost in the past decade.

``It could provide better services in the long run,'' Huss said. ``It would eliminate a duplication of services. This would be a restructuring from top to bottom.

``But it's really still in the planning stages. We don't know what it will mean for the GTBA yet.''

The SMOTF did not identify any legal or financial liabilities that would prevent a dissolution of ABC, WIBC, YABA, USA Bowling and Bowling, Inc., and their subsequent consolidation.

“Bowling's current organizational and governance structure inhibits the ability to make expedient decisions, strengthen the future of bowling and provide improved services,” the group said in a statement.

The SMOTF recently submitted a report on the concept with the following proposals:

  • An initial administrative staff would be set up, consisting of 23 elected officials. It would include members of the ABC, WIBC, YABA and five athletes.

  • While existing national tournaments would not be affected, the new organization would encourage local tournaments to be consolidated to increase participation.

  • State and local associations would be restructured into smaller groups to improve service.

  • A nationwide program would also be set up to give awards.

  • Volunteerism would be restructured with some current administrative duties transferred to regional offices. Regional and local “bowling councils” would be set up to give input to the new executive board and would participate in projects such as hall-of-fame recognition, tournaments and coaching.

  • National, state and local meetings would be replaced by zone forums, which would “be designed around members' needs and provide an opportunity for all members to have their voices heard regarding the decisions that govern their sport.”

    Questions and comments about the proposal can be sent to SMOTF Project Manager, P.O. Box 22134, West Palm Beach, Fla. 3342, or call 561-689-6411. The group's e-mail address is SMOTF@hotmail.com.

    Huss said the only involvement the GTBA has had in the proposal was filling out forms to describe the demographics of bowling in the Toledo area.

    ``I think this will be a good thing, once they get all the bugs ironed out,'' Huss said. ``Men, women and children would all belong to one organization. The only things it will do is provide better service and keep costs relatively low.''

    High school league season extended

    The season for the area's top high school league was extended for a week to accommodate two roll-off games.

    In the final position round of the second half of the Toledo Metro League last weekend, Whitmer Gold beat Whitmer Blue two games to one, but the Blue team still had a 31-11 overall record.

    However, Start swept Rogers Red three games to none and tied Whitmer Blue for the best overall record in the second half.

    This weekend, Start and Whitmer Blue will roll off to determine who becomes the second-half champion. The winner will face Whitmer Gold, which won the first half title, Saturday, March 31.

    Advanced Bowlers host three events

    The Ohio Advanced Bowlers Tour hosted three events last month.

    Tracy Damm won the tournament at Ottawa Lanes, Heath Hawkins at Rossford Lanes and Chuck Reynolds Sr. at Eastgate Lanes.

    Reynolds also won $450 and OABT's first tournament at Rossford Lanes last weekend.

    Four of a kind

    Four women dominated bowling recently at Westland Lanes. Tricia Rettig rolled 678 and 656 series late last month. Rebecca Sharp rolled a 708, Lisa Eicher 696 and Dedra Ruckman 674.



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