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The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United Statesmarker. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.

History

The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport. During its early years the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the United States in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movementmarker to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games.

The AAU became the subject of criticism, notably by outspoken track star Steve Prefontaine, over the living conditions for amateur athletes under the AAU, as well as arbitrary rules, such as a prohibition on women participating in running events. Congress adopted the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 in response to such criticisms, effectively removing the organization from any governance role. The AAU now continues as a voluntary organization largely promoting youth sports.

Programs

Programs offered by the AAU include: AAU Sports Program, AAU Junior Olympic Games, AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award and the AAU Complete Athlete Program. In addition, the President's Challenge program is administered on behalf of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The AAU has 33 national committees to organize its activities in particular sports.

In 1996, the AAU joined forces with Walt Disney Worldmarker. Later that year, the AAU relocated its national headquarters to Orlando, Floridamarker. More than 40 AAU national events are conducted at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complexmarker. Disney's Wide World of Sports features a double-deck 7,500—seat baseball stadium and baseball quadraplex, a fieldhouse that accommodates up to six hardwood courts, a softball quadraplex, two youth baseball fields, a track and field complex, and four multi-purpose performance fields sized for soccer tournaments.

AAU operates under a 501 tax-exemption letter granted by the federal government in 1966.

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