Amateur Athletic Union

Amateur Athletic Union
Amateur Athletic Union of The United States
Motto "Sports for All, Forever."
Formation 21 January 1888
Type Amateur Sports Organization
Headquarters Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Membership 205 National Olympic Committees
President Robert Dodd.

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.



The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport. During its early years the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the United States in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games.

After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU focuses on providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the local and regional levels. The philosophy of the AAU is "Sports for All, Forever." The AAU is divided into 56 distinct Districts, which annually sanction 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. The AAU events have over 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers.


Programs offered by the AAU include: AAU Sports Program, AAU Junior Olympic Games, AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award and the AAU Complete Athlete Program. In addition, the President's Challenge program is administered on behalf of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The AAU has 33 national committees to organize its activities in particular sports.[1]

In 1994, the AAU joined forces with the Walt Disney World Resort, signing a 30 year agreement. As part of that agreement, many of AAU's national championships in many sports are played at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.[2] In 1996, the AAU relocated its national headquarters to Orlando, Florida. More than 40 AAU national events are conducted at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The ESPN Wide World of Sports features a double-deck 7,500—seat baseball stadium and baseball quadraplex, a fieldhouse that accommodates up to six hardwood courts, a softball quadraplex, two youth baseball fields, a track and field complex, and four multi-purpose performance fields sized for soccer tournaments.

AAU operates under a 501(c)(3) tax-exemption letter granted by the federal government in 1966.

Sports Offered

The Amateur Athletic Union offers participants sports teams in their local community that they can join and compete with other athletes their own age. There are teams in most sports ranging from 9U to 18U, allowing children to play for championships in sports against other children similar in age and athletic development.

The AAU offers sports teams in:

Aerobics Jumprope
Athletics Lacrosse
Badminton Martial Arts
Baseball Soccer
Basketball Softball
Baton Twirling Surfing
Bocce Ball Swimming and Diving
Bowling Table Tennis
Cheerleading Trampoline and Tumbling
Dance Volleyball
Football and Flag football Water Polo
Golf Weightlifting
Gymnastics Wrestling
Hockey AAU Junior Olympic Games


In the early 1970s, The AAU became the subject of criticism, notably by outspoken track star Steve Prefontaine, over the living conditions for amateur athletes under the AAU, as well as arbitrary rules, such as a prohibition on women participating in running events. Congress adopted the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 in response to such criticisms, effectively removing the organization from any governance role. The AAU now continues as a voluntary organization largely promoting youth sports.

In 2008, The AAU also found itself under scrutiny over privacy of information of athletes. A local news station near the AAU Headquarters found boxes of personal information thrown out in dumpsters, raising questions about the organization's handling of private data. [3]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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