For several years, many have looked at the Amateur Athletic Union as a great way for athletes to compete at an elite level and get noticed by major college coaches, especially in basketball. I for one, am guilty of this train of thought because I have seen the positive effects that playing on the AAU circuit has had for my brother’s abilities as a basketball player and overall athlete.
However, over the years the AAU circuit has provided a lot of controversy as well. In the 1970s there was a scandal dealing with the living standards of AAU athletes, leading President Jimmy Carter to sign the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 which established the United States Olympic Committee. This act made the USOC in charge of all international sports competitions, removing the AAU from that post.
More recently, a former AAU basketball coach of the nationally prominent Houston Select team committed suicide in 2011. David Salinas was involved in various controversies due to his job as an investment manager. What’s the problem right? Most of his clients were college basketball coaches, and he lost millions. (Click here to read about Salinas)
The idea behind the AAU is truly a novel one; allow amateur athletes the chance to become as elite of an athlete as possible and expose them to major collegiate coaches for scholarship opportunities. However, there are several issues with the organization. These issues will likely never go away.
That being said I pose the question, “Are AAU athletes truly amateur athletes nowadays?”