12 employees at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas have been laid off as of Wednesday, September 17, according to Bowlers Journal International. The effect spread throughout the bowling world as members of the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) were also affected. It has been speculated that this is a precursor for another line of mass layoffs due to the reconstructing of the USBC.
The organization moved from its previous location in Greendale, Wis. to its present location in Arlington in 2008, and as a result, reduced its employee count to just under 100 staff members. It was reported that after the move in 2010, that approximately 13 employees were all let go in just one day. USBC President, Andrew Cain, spoke with BJI about the downsizing. Although he did not speak to the specifics regarding the Sept. 17 layoffs, he did answer questions about rumors that have emerged in the past month,
Regarding questions about where we are now, it’s certainly a challenge, and it’s something that we are going to get through, and I think we will see growth in our future. We’ve had to be very honest with who we are, what we are, and what we’re going to be. And I think that’s challenging for any business. It’s time we truly help lead our segment of the industry through some of the tougher times without trying to glorify where we are as an organization.
We’ve always been seen as a rock for the integrity and for the health of the industry,” Cain added. “We’ve been a barometer for many years. It’s very important that we take our leadership role in our industry seriously.
He also addressed speculation that the layoffs were a signal that the USBC may be preparing to narrow its role down to just a mere governing body for the sport,
We’ve been pretty clear the last couple of years about what we’re doing in forming ourselves as a National Governing Body. That does not mean we are out of the membership business by any means. That’s probably what’s being insinuated. We’re very much focused on our members and on the sport.
Our success as a membership organization is tied to our efforts at reforming our strength as a National Governing Body and giving our members something to be proud of,” Cain added. “People bowl for fun with friends and family, and we want to be able to help provide that for them. We have to do that with all integers in the industry. We need to refocus on our leadership role in the industry; that’s where we’ve struggled in recent years, and that’s what we will focus on.
Cain was asked what “role in the industry,” exactly that he was referring to, he answered,
I think we’re a service organization. Our role is very clearly stated; it’s to provide the standards, services, and resources in the sport of bowling. It’s that simple. And if we are successful in providing that, the rest will take care of itself.
Cain also added,
“I don’t think the sport of bowling needs to be ‘fixed,’ there is nothing wrong with millions of people bowling each year. We need to make sure we’re wholly focused on our mission of providing services and standards. We need to be true to the sport, and true to the integrity of the sport. We need to honor that.
“We’ve got a lot of good folks that are working for us and continue to. We will become more of a leader in the sport, and we will do it together.”