Why does no one like the USBC?

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jaimelion
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Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by jaimelion » May 17th, 2020, 7:07 pm

So I hear allot of people complain about the USBC. I am wondering what they did wrong or why people do not like them?

Thanks

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by boomer » May 18th, 2020, 3:23 pm

Because they are the National organizing group. They set the rules. In any sport, the top governing body is always considered the bad guy, the rules they set are (nearly) always considered bad.

F1 = FIA
WRC = FIA
Bowling = ABC/WIBC (old) USBC (present)
car racing (America) = SCCA / NASA (North American Sportscar Association)

LOL - those are the ones I know. Can you tell I bowl and race? LOL

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by kajmk » May 18th, 2020, 5:45 pm

As Boomer wrote, it's difficult to 100% satisfy everyone in a large group of people.

Perhaps a satisfaction rating say 1-10 with the high number being the most favorable score ???
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so

There should be a rule of war saying you have to see someone up close and get to know 'em before it's ok to shoot 'em

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 18th, 2020, 7:21 pm

kajmk wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 5:45 pm
As Boomer wrote, it's difficult to 100% satisfy everyone in a large group of people.

Perhaps a satisfaction rating say 1-10 with the high number being the most favorable score ???
Your scoring system is much too kind. To make it fair, could we start at negative 100 ?

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by jaimelion » May 18th, 2020, 7:31 pm

TomaHawk wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 7:21 pm
Your scoring system is much too kind. To make it fair, could we start at negative 100 ?
Can you answer what your issues with the USBC are?

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by GrumpyCatFace » May 18th, 2020, 8:28 pm

They don’t appear to serve any actual purpose, except to set the rules. Yet every league bowler pays them money every year to be ‘sanctioned’.

They used to give out awards for scoring achievements, but can’t even manage to produce a simple patch anymore.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 18th, 2020, 11:29 pm

jaimelion wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 7:31 pm
Can you answer what your issues with the USBC are?
We would have to go a long way back, but throughout the years they have implemented rules and regulations that have destroyed the general bowling population.

But, like any sport, there are different levels of capability.

Let's explore that for a moment from a different perspective. A lot of people have played Little League Baseball. For many, that's all they played. Know something though, go to a ball game and everyone sitting in the stands is a professional. In their mind, they can hit Justin Verlander or they can hit a baseball like Miguel Cabrera. The people in the stands will never, ever get an opportunity to go on the field to experience just how good those guys are.

Bowling is the one sport / activity that anyone who can get to foul line should be able to enjoy. In a person's mind they are just as good as a professional bowler. Isn't that great! A person can actually live the dream. USBC's has always set guidelines from the top down instead of the bottom up. An amateur should not have to play in an environment that only a well trained bowler can effectively play on. The dream ends, frustration sets in.

Rules that make the game any more confusing, complex, and difficult are rules that need not be implemented. People are out to have a good time bowling. Make it too difficult, they have quit and are still quitting.

Who's to blame? The only thing that really changed was the rules. So, yes, I blame it almost entirely on USBC.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by 44boyd » May 19th, 2020, 11:42 am

Please elaborate, what environmental and rule changes are you speaking of? For as much as you complain about, help me see your frustration
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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by RobMautner » May 19th, 2020, 3:44 pm

For me, the problem with the USBC is that they have totally neglected their long-time mission of protecting the integrity of the game. At the point where the USBC decided to move to Texas and take their coffee breaks with the staff of the BPAA, all was lost. Equipment is out of control, and lane conditions are no longer regulated or (soon) checked by local associations. Awards have gotten chintzier and chintzier, while dues have gone up and up. One cannot help but wonder how long it will be before leagues decide that USBC Sanctioning is not something that they really need. Just my opinion.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 19th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Has anyone ever witnessed someone who constantly diverts attention away from themselves and blames everything that went wrong on something other than themselves? When that happens, there is a lot of confusion, especially among people who just don't give a damn. Everyone starts pointing fingers in different directions instead of focusing on the issue at hand.

Before going any further, first and foremost, I love bowling and have had the good fortune to know and bowl some of the best teams and work with the best people the industry has ever known. Perhaps that is why I am sensitive to outside influence. You might say ABC / USBC are epitomy bowling, they are not, it's the consumers that really matter.

Bowling is a commercial sport. Reason, anyone can do it. With a reasonable amount of time and monetary investment, a person could become somewhat adept at bowling too. We are not talking about the best bowlers in the world, but day to day people, going to another job, looking for some enjoyment in their life. Whatever fits the bill to make those people happy and more be effective is the direction bowling should have taken. After all, they make up the absolute majority of our business model.

When USBC was ABC, they implemented various sanctions against bowling ball manufactures and proprietors. It was all livable, but when you really took a look at the direction those sanctions took, it became obvious they were targeting a particular group. For example, hardness of coverstocks, one of the first sanctions against bowling ball manufactures.

To the person who is a casual participant, the hardness rule was not that big of an issue. After all, it was easy to paint a picture of the illegality of a soft bowling ball. Personally, I could not use them effectively, my rev rate was too high for my ball speed. People who needed a little extra help were suddenly getting the ball to the pocket effectively. And then, there was the guy with a torque, speed, and rev rate that could really take advantage of soft equipment. That's the guy that sent ABC into a spin.

ABC was a bunch of old timers, threw the ball fairly straight, rev rates were not even a consideration. When they saw some of the kids swinging and bringing like they never could, it was "The Ball". One of those kids was my best friend. Imagine this, at 5'10" he could palm a #16 bowling ball. When he threw it, you could literally here the ball hiss as it went down the lane. Him and I were both the next wave of good bowlers coming up, but I have to say, he destroyed pins. He got pretty comfortable with the soft equipment too.

In my mind, it was admirable! What I failed to realize, someone else might be jealous.

Sure enough, it didn't take long either, coverstock hardness was standardized.

A bunch of people went out and bought those bowling balls because.....they had seen my buddy throw one and thought to themselves, it must be the ball, "I gotta have one of them". Within months, the hardness rule comes along, the ball could no longer be used in competition. ABC is happy as a lark and celebrating their success. What about all those people who bought one? ABC says tough luck. Some of them people, who only bowled once a week, just bought a super soft ball, were now being told they could not use it. What did some of those people do? Quit.

That's when it all started.

ABC went on to flex it's proverbial muscle, modifying everything they thought to be a concern. The bowling industry went into a never ending tailspin.

ABC is call USBC now. So what, same ideology, nothing changed.

Maybe it was destiny that bowling would look like it does today, maybe people just got tired of dedicating 30 - 36 weeks of their time and money. For many of them though, they just got tired of the constant state of frustration: "You can now bowl on one lane...and...you can use alcohol"

Give me a break............

ABC / USBC has not, cannot, change my love for the game. I just wish they'd go away, most people wouldn't know anyway except on the first day of league.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by boomer » May 19th, 2020, 4:40 pm

A lot of the complaints come from rules getting nitpicky / extremely technical. The amount of oil a ball surface can absorb per 10 second; the number of allowed holes and what has to go into those holes; the amount of side / top weight allowed; that kind of thing.

Then comes the pushback as to whether any of that actually MEANS anything. Does top weight mean anything? How about those holes?

A lot of it is a balance between technology getting more and more of an advantage over the lanes, the lanes and oil working to get back at it - and then the USBC trying desperately to keep reign on it.

A perception is that as this technological arms race heats up, it means people have to spend more money to bowl and keep up, and as budgets shrink, people leave bowling . . . oh my, how do we address this? Fewer bowlers.

USBC's approach has been to add rules, get overly technical, and get geeky on it. THEN when they drop a bunch of their technical rules and go static weight, they also mandate that all holes must be either used or plugged, which feels like a grab at money (you have to go to your pro shop to plug holes) and hard to enforce (are you REALLY going to look at a two-hander or no-thumber to see that their ball is marked AND that the mark is under their palm??? How about the guy that uses only ONE FINGER??? Yes, we have one of those. . .) People see this and . . . fewer bowlers.

TomaHawk sees financial motivation, and that may well be true. I, just on another perspective, see scrambling desperation and lack of leadership. Leadership is more like representation trying to get consensus rather than leadership. Thatcher, I think, said, "Consensus is the death of leadership." and I think this applies here.

Rob is right - a LOT of leagues in my area are non-sanctioned. For years we bowled a non-sanctioned league. We moved to another non-sanctioned league and then ended up in a sanctioned league because we wanted USBC averages and ended up liking the league so we stayed. (plan was to get our averages, then go back to a non-sanctioned league) - and I think the USBC is getting desperate to STOP this movement. Fewer bowlers, fewer centers as they get closed or bought up, and fewer sanctioned leagues means . . . less reason for USBC.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 20th, 2020, 1:53 pm

Very insightful post boomer. I'll take it a step further, the pro shop becomes the information liaison for just about everything ABC / USBC conjures up. I've had a long, productive career in the pro shop business. My philosophy, help people bowl better, period. Taking that into consideration, talking about anything ABC / USBC has done is disturbing to say the least. People can only imagine what it's like to have to explain why the balance hole has to be filled. Here's what more than a few people have commented: "Looks like the pro shop guys are gonna make a killing". What a joke, at least for me, I'm embarrassed by the that thought, even more embarrassed that I have to inform them of the ruling.

The last thing on earth I want to do is talk about some damn USBC rule or regulation. Here's a good one (until now), a bowler cannot clean or alter the surface of a bowling ball during the course of competition, spent countless hours explaining that one too. It's not about the money, it's about the true component behind that type of ruling. Once or twice a week someone will get gunk on their ball, we have to clean it off. No problem, but we also have to explain why they cannot clean it themselves without first asking an official USBC OFFICER.

The list goes on and on and on.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by boomer » May 20th, 2020, 4:02 pm

Pro shop or their league officials, who should be interfacing with the local officials who should be interfacing with . . . someone above them.

Honestly, I think the real problem is that USBC has gotten too large. Heck, I think they were too large when they were ABC / WIBC / YABA? Well, I had more interaction with WIBC than ABC (several friends were officials in their association WIBC) and that seemed removed from both the league level AND the national level . . . and WIBC was way smaller than ABC. Then comes the merger - I don't know who is what, where, and how.

Some of that is deliberate - I am involved in far too many things right now to allow myself to get involved in something new. But the fact that I don't know? I'm the kind of person who snoops around until I find out and . . . not even a sniff, honestly.

A customer/member based organization NEEDS to be in contact with their people/customer/member-base on a regular basis and NOT remotely.

ANOTHER problem is one of value - I don't know anyone who believes we get ANYTHING significant of value from USBC. Sanction? What's a sanction and why do I care? I'm paying an annual fee for what? Not for Nationals - we pay a pretty good fee (at least for me) for that. A patch, if you're lucky? Really? Maybe a ring if you hit a 300 the first time (but not a 299 anymore. My F-in-Law has one of those, and WE have THE PIN! :) - and not additional rings for additional 300s) so sure, that's good, but 99%+ of us haven't or won't see one of those.

So, whether there IS value, it's not being communicated and it's not being PERCEIVED.

I ran a sanctioning organization (US RallyCross in three states) and made sure that we had a TANGIBLE benefit for my members. Membership fees were minimal and typically included in race entry fees (and thus spread out across multiple events) and novel race styles, championship event, etc.

I glanced at the USBC Budget Report for 2019. . . $14.78 MILLION in dues plus $13.9 MILLION in Tournament Entry and Price Fees. $38 million total income.

balanced with $7 MILLION in salaries plus $1.5M in fringe benefits, another $3.1M in Temp Agency and $4.2M in Professional Services. Maybe that's not a lot - but how many employees and what level? That SOUNDS like quite a bit. That's $14.8 MILLION, total. (Temp Agency and Professional Services likely are things like security and contracted employees for the tournament and such - that's still a LOT. . .)

so - another reason why USBC is not liked is that they take our money, send down dictates, and WE don't perceive much/any TANGIBLE benefit.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by guruU2 » May 20th, 2020, 4:46 pm

If one KNOWS one's product one (in this case the (USBC) one can make policies that enhance the product (bowling). The record shows this has not been the case with the USBC thus the decline of the product. Simple, if one does not KNOW one's product one can not manage nor promote the product one does not know.
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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by Glenn » May 20th, 2020, 5:38 pm

I read a lot of complaints on here about the USBC, but what I am not reading is any thoughts on how to address the problem.
I feel the USBC is an organization little influenced by outside forces, staffed by "lifers", and is the wholly-owned subsidiary of the ball mfgs. and bowling centers.
So, how does one (collectively) go about making changes, and what changes??
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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 20th, 2020, 7:16 pm

Glenn wrote:
May 20th, 2020, 5:38 pm
I read a lot of complaints on here about the USBC, but what I am not reading is any thoughts on how to address the problem.
I feel the USBC is an organization little influenced by outside forces, staffed by "lifers", and is the wholly-owned subsidiary of the ball mfgs. and bowling centers.
So, how does one (collectively) go about making changes, and what changes??
You are correct, ABC / USBC are staffed by lifers, along with a few relatives, friends, etc. They are not affiliated with ball companies or proprietors though.

Ball companies put out products which push the limits of ABC / USBC guidelines, but still in accordance with ABC / USBC rules. ABC / USBC stamp its approval right on the ball. As has happened a few times, ABC / USBC with retract certification of a bowling ball. This phenomenon was referred in an earlier post.

ABC \ USBC giveth, ABC / USBC taketh away.

Every time they do that, someone is going to take exception and that someone is going to respond negatively. Sometimes, it results in a person quitting the game. If, just one person quits, it could potentially destroy entire leagues. The trickle effect cannot be minimized. Yet, that is precisely the stance ABC / USBC takes: "If you don't like it, leave".

It is not their damn business! It's mine and every other person involved in the bowling industry. We have committed our time, effort, and money. What does ABC / USBC have? Nothing, it's our money.

To answer the question, what can be done about them? More and more leagues are deciding to forego sanctioning. That's too bad, but if you dig yourself a multi-million dollar hole, run it improperly, loss of revenue is going to happen. Through salesmanship and intimidation, USBC has managed to engulf itself in mergers. That is the only reason they are still in existence.

Another thorn USBC created in an effort to procure more funds, USBC Gold Level Coaching. Congratulations to anyone who has achieved that lofty title. But, you're not good enough. How do I know that? USBC released cd's featuring touring professionals expounding upon the proper bowling technique.

Gold Level Coaches, how does that make you feel? To make matters worse, USBC opened their own training facility. Anyone for a knife in the back and better yet, you paid for the knife.

Geez, I can't stop.......

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by boomer » May 21st, 2020, 3:55 pm

Glenn wrote:
May 20th, 2020, 5:38 pm
I read a lot of complaints on here about the USBC, but what I am not reading is any thoughts on how to address the problem.
I feel the USBC is an organization little influenced by outside forces, staffed by "lifers", and is the wholly-owned subsidiary of the ball mfgs. and bowling centers.
So, how does one (collectively) go about making changes, and what changes??
OK, here we go:

1. some real representation, both ways. USBC needs to get their regional associations INTO the centers and on local leagues. It's a lot of work, but heck, that's what they're for. USBC needs to get TO their regional associations, put in face time, LISTEN. Again, it's going to take work, but that's what they're there for.

2. tangible benefits. Talk with members. Bring back our trivial (and CHEAP) patches for accomplishments and make it easy for us to get them. NOT the 300s, the 800s, the 900s . . . the 200 for a 110avg bowler; the 250 for a 140avg bowler; the most improved over a season; the triplicate; the stairstep; etc. Yeah, trivial crap but you know, trivial crap is FUN. Even for a 50 year old, I LOVE getting my Judge pins for judging the Orange County Fair Homebrew Competition; we're giving out pins for visiting local breweries and buying cans, and they're going FAST; they do NOT cost much and they are a tangible benefit, and having a local association official hand them out (or even the more difficult ones) puts face time on things. . .

2a. tangible benefits. Promote state tourneys. This is a forward facing event. Subsidize it enough that a local bowler can participate, locally, and have fun. Heck promote and HELP do LOCAL tournaments. Tournaments are not easy things to run. The software (that I've seen) is a PITA and not cheap; organization and promotion sucks; running the events is exhausting - and this coming from someone who has organized very large racing events. The SCCA and NASA (National Auto Sports Association) actually provide quite a bit of assistance, from safety stewards (and training for that) to publicity to equipment. Heck, I've actually gotten a TRAILER from one of the SCCA regional associations that had the timing system and PA system built into it, plus all the cones we'd need. Where is the equivalent to THAT from USBC?

3. transparency. I mentioned the budget, which I found on bowl.com, but that leaves out about as much as it tells. Millions of dollars in salaries and contracts - OK, how many employees does that support? How much does the CEO make (and don't make me spend MY time finding it out)? Split out the National Tournament so it doesn't look like USBC is funding it under the table (it can subsidize it, but make it clear how much subsidy is happening) OR that the National Tournament is subsidizing the USBC (which, also, is fine, but make it clear how much. . .) - and this would entail splitting out the salaries and contracts: which are Tournament and which are USBC? Make it EMINENTLY clear where our money goes.

These would be a start. They're not comprehensive. Other people will have other ideas.


HOW do we make these (and other) changes? No idea. USBC seems to be VERY top heavy. I was told that to make any kind of change, you have to go to the convention, rub elbows, do unspeakable things to unspeakable people, and work your way to the top and then, after a long time and a lot of unspeakable acts, maybe THEN you could make a change. However, by then, you would be entrenched in the bureaucracy at which point any change would be out the window as the only thing bureaucracies are good for is continuing the bureaucracy.

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Re: Why does no one like the USBC?

Post by TomaHawk » May 21st, 2020, 7:01 pm

boomer wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 3:55 pm
OK, here we go:

HOW do we make these (and other) changes? No idea. USBC seems to be VERY top heavy. I was told that to make any kind of change, you have to go to the convention, rub elbows, do unspeakable things to unspeakable people, and work your way to the top and then, after a long time and a lot of unspeakable acts, maybe THEN you could make a change. However, by then, you would be entrenched in the bureaucracy at which point any change would be out the window as the only thing bureaucracies are good for is continuing the bureaucracy.
^^That is exactly the problem^^.

In terms of what they try to do for the sport, USBC is plastered on everything they touch, it's everywhere in the centers. "GO BOWLING". I hate to break the news, but uh-hmmm, we're already there. A very good friend was a sports caster for a major television network. He loved bowling, tried to present it on his telecast. That segment was shot down in no time at all. Unlike us, here on a forum, most people in the world do not care.

USBC should at least know that much.

I'm just a guy who has witnessed ABC / USBC, almost single handed, destroy bowling. Sure, we need rules, everyone knows that. Boomer, you mention SCCA. Having had subscription to all major automobile magazines and a bunch of friends who are engineers at one or another car company does not make me an expert. What it did was provide insight into why some types of regulations were modified. If a rule or regulation was modified it seems as if they were in the best interest of the drivers, not the sanctioning body.

USBC?

It is perfectly obvious, USBC will remain the same. If bowlers quit, they will just raise the dues.

I had an opportunity to run a bowling center that had come under new ownership. The old owner and I just happened to cross paths as he was leaving for the last time. With a sh*t eating grin, he said: "Good luck, this place has lost 12% of its clientele over the last 5 years". I replied: "One of the reasons was you and the people you have working for you". Fired every single one of them. In two years we went to 90% capacity.

The reason for the turnaround? It wasn't because of me, I just know bowling.

USBC? They know each other.

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