ORLANDO, Fla. (July 31, 2017) – Since 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) has provided amateur athletic opportunities in cities throughout the United States. As the largest multi-sport organization in the country, the AAU is the standard bearer for premier event hosting.
Basketball, the largest sport in the AAU, continues to dominate the youth market space with thousands of AAU leagues, tournaments, showcases and other events run annually. Numerous alumni from AAU girls and boys basketball programs have gone on to compete in college and then on to the professional ranks including LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kyrie Irving, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Tina Charles.
Over the years, the AAU brand has become synonymous with travel basketball. While AAU is the industry leader in offering quality basketball programming, not all events labelled ‘AAU’ are licensed by the AAU organization.
This past week, media coverage focused on a shoe company sponsored event -- the Adidas Summer Championships. Frequently, this event was referenced as an ‘AAU tournament’ with some outlets even going so far as to use the AAU shield in its television graphics. Much of this coverage was negative and many people erroneously associated the tourney with AAU.
In fact, this event was not licensed by AAU nor did the organization have anything to do with the tournament.
The only licensed AAU events in Las Vegas, Nevada this summer were hosted by longtime AAU event operator Jam On It. More than 1,500 teams competed at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center in 2017 taking part in safe, well-run, quality events while experiencing the great atmosphere only found at AAU tournaments.
“We certainly appreciate the fact that AAU continues to be associated with summer basketball,“ said Matt Williams, AAU Second Vice-President. “However, we can’t stand by and allow the AAU brand to be consistently associated with lesser event products that do not adhere to the high standards required by the AAU organization.”
The AAU is strongly committed to improving the game of basketball and positively contributing to the overall development of its players. On Thursday, July 27th, the AAU held its inaugural AAU Basketball Board of Visitors meeting. This historic advisory committee consists of former and current NBA players working alongside AAU leadership to advance the game of basketball in the United States. Members include: Jonathan Bender, Otis Birdsong, Anthony Brown, Askia Jones, Theo Ratliff, Quentin Richardson, Dicky Simpkins, Sam Vincent, Rushia Brown, Kaayla Chones, Jermaine O’Neil and Lanny Smith.
“The AAU has always been at the forefront of basketball in the United States,” said Boo Williams, AAU Boys Basketball National Chair. “We are excited to call on the knowledge and expertise of these elite players to enhance the overall playing experience for our athletes, parents and coaches.”
The advisory committee is the latest initiative from AAU which differentiates the organization from other summer basketball programs. AAU has many offerings other event organizations do not – a comprehensive background screening process for adult members, coaches education through AAU’s partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, emphasis on athlete safety with the AAU concussion policy and youth protection handbook plus AAU basketball provides clearly defined, standardized competition rules and regulations.
If you have questions on whether an event is AAU, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-934-7200.
ABOUT THE AAU:
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 35 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. The largest sport in the AAU, basketball had more than 260,000 members in 2016 with approximately 4,000 licensed AAU girls and boys basketball events across the nation. For more information, visit www.aausports.org.