Here is a letter I sent to the San Jose Mercury News with the title "USOC is broken. Who
will fix it?"
The resignation of Lloyd Ward as CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee
(3/2/03, C1) is a step in the right direction but it doesn't solve the fundamental problem in that
A few years ago, USOC agents assisted a Salt Lake City group in their successful bribery of
International Olympic Committee members. Looking further back, there have been major scandals
involving USOC members every five to ten years for at least a half century. Was that all bad luck? I
USOC supposedly operates under the control of a board of directors representing the National
Governing Bodies (NGBs) of all Olympic sports and a number of others, so we might expect them to
straighten things out. However there is no requirement under governing Federal Law (Ted Stevens
Olympic and Amateur Sports Act) that NGBs provide democratic representation of participants in their
respective sports and, for the most part, they don't. In fact, many NGBs have been taken over by
commercial interests, which gives those interests control over the policies under which their
businesses operate and little interest in fixing corruption at one higher level.
Thus USOC and the NGBs operate as a quasi-governmental agencies with monopoly powers but no
obligation for democratic representation of participants. Unfortunately, while the media gleefully
report the scandals they don't get past the surface level of corruption. I believe that fixing it
will require an act of Congress.