For more than half a century, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) feuded over which association would dominate American amateur sports. Their often bitter conflict involved track-and-field competition and became especially heated in the 1960s and 1970s when the success of American teams against Soviet teams in the Olympics and other international competitions became a matter of Cold War rivalry. Attempts to mediate the dispute involved the intervention of three US presidents, a vice president, an attorney general, a military hero, a famous labor lawyer, and Congress, all to no avail. Powerful, iron-willed men led the AAU and NCAA and stubbornly protected their organizations' interests. Finally, in 1978, Congress passed the Amateur Sports Act that reconstituted the US Olympic Committee, relegating the AAU to a reduced role in elite sports and enabling the NCAA to enhance its power. This narrative reveals much about high-level American amateur sports during the Cold War.


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pp. 50-65
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