It’s been over 40 years since the Amateur Sports Act was signed into law, establishing the USOPC (f. USOC) as the exclusive body to regulate Olympic sports in America. And in that time we have seen an explosion of fuckery such as the moral bankruptcy in USA Gymnastics (f. US Gymnastics Federation). This is far from an isolated incident. The USOPC isn’t very proactive when it comes to athletes not being paid or being abused by governing bodies. It’s time to consider some reforms.
Remember the USGF lobbied the FIG to become its member for America because everyone was tired of the AAU. This can’t happen anymore because the USOPC solely chooses the governing bodies. This resulted in USAG, a midsize nonprofit, becoming too big to fail. Let’s remember when the USOPC “moved to decertify” USAG the day before federal elections, helping to bury media coverage. This was theater to try to sort of maneuver USAG’s bankruptcy restructuring.
“Amateur” sports have become more professionalized since the passage of the Amateur Sports Act. Even though many gymnasts are professional, they’re independent contractors for USAG. The real professionals are the bureaucrats in the USOPC and governing bodies. Their careers can last decades while athletes’ will last a decade at most. This incentivizes subjugating athletes who have no union rights. The USOPC very much acts like a monopoly.
Reform was needed in the 70s. But I don’t consider the Amateur Sports Act to be a net positive. This isn’t an acceptable outcome after 40 years. I recommend repealing it and removing the USOPC’s monopoly.
So do you like the USOPC? Hate it? Feel indifferent? Let’s talk about it.