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Bowlers Journal Timeline TIMELINE


2000 1

The PBA goes private.

Little more than a year after the death of founder Eddie Elias, PBA Commissioner Mark Gerberich (pictured) finds a buyer for the ailing Professional Bowlers Assn. at the 11th hour. The PBA is purchased by a group of deep-pocket Micro- soft alumni, and the sale stabilizes the organization’s finances; it also results in the transfer of pro head- quarters from Akron, Ohio, to Seattle.

2000 2

‘Ed’ brings bowling back to prime time.

A half-century after “Jackpot Bowling,”

tenpins returns to the prime-time network tele- vision schedule. The title character of the NBC series is Ed Stevens (played by Tom Cavanaugh), a New York City lawyer who returns to his Ohio hometown, buys the local bowling center, and tries to win the heart of the cheerleader goddess (played by Julie Bowen) he’d admired from afar in high school. Though the gentle comedy-drama attracts a cult following, low ratings bring cancellation after 83 episodes.


THE 2000s 2001

Sport Bowling is introduced by the ABC.

High scoring has gotten out of hand, but proprietors say tougher lane conditions will scare away business. The American Bowling Congress comes up with a compro- mise: Sport Bowling. From now on, bowlers will have the choice of continuing to roll against a “house shot,” or joining a league in which their real skills may be tested.


The NCAA recognizes bowling.

The governing body of intercollegiate sports finally gives its official sanction to the world’s largest partici- patory sport. The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. begins crowning women’s bowling champions the fol- lowing year, though men’s bowling continues to be ignored.

2004 3

Walter Ray: all-time great.

For a record eighth time, the bowling

writers vote Walter Ray Williams Jr. the Bowler of the Year. BJI also names him an All-American for a record 14th time. Williams will later add another three All-American citations to his total, and may still add more in the future. What’s certain is that he has earned the right to be called one of the three or four best bowlers ever — and maybe the best.

2003 4

The USBC is born.

After decades of discussion, threats

by BPAA that it may form its own membership group, and a couple of years of diplomacy, bowling’s major membership organizations — ABC, WIBC and YABA — merge under the banner of the United States Bowl- ing Congress. The “single membership organization” concept, often referred to as “SMO,” finally was a reality. Also included in the consolidation package are Team USA and the two gender-based bowling halls of fame.

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