"A central policy-making forum to identify U.S. sports problems and effect solutions."
"There are three basic modes of sports organizations employed by sporting nations," the commission said. "In one, government is in control. In another, a nongovernmental sports authority is in control. In the third, no one is in control. Only the U.S. uses the third method.
The commission opts for No. 2, to create what it calls a "Central Sports Organization" and using as a frame the present U.S. Olympic Committee.
The CSO would be composed only of the national governing bodies of each sport, "with appropriate checks and balances built in . . . and subject to review by Congress every six years."
The USOC was chosen as the frame because it is the easiest way to resolve the problem with irritating the fewest sporting factions. Its charter was designed as public law - and thus can be modified rather simply - and it already is recognized internationally.
This streamlined organization, "offering them (the NGBs) sizable financial opportunities but requiring them to become both better organized and more open to the interests of each sport," could have a profound effect on amateur sport.
If implemented, the commission said, its recommendations "will cause the dispute between the AAU and NCAA and other disputes this commission has uncovered to be solved. They will accomplish organizational overhaul of the NGBs while preserving the freedom of sportsmen and sportswomen to map their own destiny.
"Power blocs which have crippled the USOC in the past will be eliminated. Athletes' rights will be more adequately guranteed, and the funding of amateur sports will reach across the whole system rather than remain confined to a few niches of affluence."
It would take a one time jolt of about $215 million (or about $1 for every American) to get matters rolling, the commission said, with an annual requirement of $83 million thereafter.
The commission has dozens of potential sources to raise those funds, with the best, according to executive director Mike Harrigan, commemorative coins.
Whatever the merits of the specifics involved, the overall notion of restructure seems sound, as do the ideas for a more realistic definition of what constitutes an amateur.
Most Olympians, including many Americans, are at least semi-amateurs now. The fewer shams the better. One commission proposal would allow a professional athlete in one sport to remain in amateur in all others. With this in mind, Harrigan visualizes a remarkably talented U.S. bobsled team: Carl Eller, Alan Page, L. C. Greenwood and Mean Joe Greene.