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Change on the horizon

By PHIL GULICK

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


More than 1,100 delegates to the ABC national convention in Reno, Nev., on March 16 came away with nine of 35 amendments adopted and a lot of food for thought.

Two topics of potential significance captured the delegates' attention.

One was the national introduction of the "Sport Bowling" competition, and the other was the concept of a single-membership organization, an idea that has been floated for decades.

Sport Bowling will be introduced in August as an option for proprietors.

Sport Bowling -- as opposed to "Standard Bowling," or regular league play -- will demand a higher caliber of play by regulating lane conditions and imposing other restrictions. The idea is to place emphasis on a player's skill rather than on high-tech equipment that has sent scores skyrocketing. A new "average adjustment scale" will be used to control Sport vs. Standard averages when a player competing in a Standard event has only a Sport average.

Two years of testing showed that Sport averages were considerably lower than Standard averages, confirming that technology in balls and lane conditions gives average bowlers false high averages. Tests also showed that players at the high end of the Standard average scale saw a more dramatic drop in their Sport average than did Standard bowlers with lower averages.

A new Internet site, www.sportbowling.com, will provide an averages listing service for Sport bowlers and information related to the concept.

The single-membership organization would merge the ABC, WIBC, YABA, USA Bowling and Bowling Inc. Officers and members of the ABCWIBC, with a combined 3.2-million members, will demand answers to hundreds of questions before legislation can be presented. "On the surface it looks like the merger of five organizations," ABC executive director Roger Dalkin said, "but it really will be a merger of 6,349 state, provincial and local associations."

The proposed merger may take several years.

FSU, FLORIDA SCORE: The Florida State men's and women's teams and the Florida women's team qualified for the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships on April 18-22 at Grand Rapids, Mich.

The FSU men finished fourth behind Michigan State in the Central Region qualifier last weekend at Lexington, Ky. The squad includes Bruce Meyers of St. Petersburg and Michael Rooks of Clearwater. Florida's men missed the cut by 194 pins. Erin Dedering of Tampa and Adam Zold of New Port Richey are Florida men's team members.

The top four men's and women's teams from each of the East, Central, Midwest and West regions advanced.

The FSU women finished third behind second-ranked Morehead State and Indiana State. The Florida women, whose assistant coach is Joanne Mayer of New Port Richey, were fourth.

- Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes6@aol.com or xerxes6@juno.com.

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