Although his day-to-day involvement in the baseball operations of the New York Yankees has ended, George Steinbrenner could someday be reinstated as a vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
For now, the organization will consider him inactive until the fallout from his forced resignation as managing general partner of the Yankees "settles down."
USOC executive committee members put him on inactive status early Thursday morning, announcing their decision after a lengthy meeting at a Colorado Springs hotel.
"He will remain inactive, period," said USOC President Robert Helmick. "There's been no issue of his credibility. The only desire is for him to remain inactive until the controversies surrounding him are all sufficiently resolved."
Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent was prepared to suspend Steinbrenner for two years for paying gambler Howard Spira $40,000. But in hopes of maintaining his role with the USOC, Steinbrenner suggested he relinquish control of the Yankees.
With committee members trying to agree on his future with the organization, Steinbrenner offered to resign from the USOC but was told that wasn't necessary, the Associated Press reported.
The inactive status of Steinbrenner, who has been with the organization for 18 months and whose four-year term on the executive committee is due to end in 1992, was announced well after 2 a.m. (EDT) Thursday.
"George was saying, 'I'll quit,' and we were saying, 'Isn't there something we can work out?' " USOC treasurer LeRoy Walker told the AP.
Said Helmick: "We feel there are controversies that have not been resolved, but public inquiries and inquiries from the press were beginning to interfere with the conduct of our day-to-day business. . . . We'll look at the situation as it unfolds."
Steinbrenner was not asked to resign because "it was felt we really didn't have enough information to decide if he should or should not resign," Helmick said.
In a statement released early Thursday morning, Steinbrenner said: "It is evident to me that the events of the past weeks involving myself and major league baseball have caused an undue amount of focus on my activities with the U.S. Olympic Committee. I think it is only right and in the best interests of the Olympic movement that we allow things to settle for awhile so that the main focus can return to the governing bodies and the athletes, where it belongs."
Helmick said Steinbrenner won't be permitted to vote or attend meetings until further notice. Helmick said additional action by the USOC regarding Steinbrenner is unnecessary because he agreed to the inactive status.