Should the USOC (and in turn USA Team Handball) receive government funding?

The 3rd part of the Washington Post series on the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) was published yesterday. The third piece looks at the possibility of the USOC receiving some of its funding from the U.S. government. Many of our readers around the world might be surprised to learn that the USOC receives no funding from the U.S. government and in turn, the U.S. Team Handball Federation (USA TH) receives no funding as well. The USOC instead receives the bulk of its funding from TV and sponsorship revenues that the IOC shares with the U.S. The percentage that the U.S. receives is a point of controversy and may have contributed to Chicago failing to get the Olympics.

Switching to government funding could have implications for minor sports like Team Handball. Historically, minor sports in the U.S. have received the bulk of their funding from the USOC. In the last decade, the USOC decided to run itself more like a “business” and this resulted in the decision for a pay for performance plan that meant that more money would go to the sports that can get medals. As Team Handball only supplied the possibility of 2 medals (men and women) and had virtually no hope of realistically competing for a medal funding for the sport dropped substantially. A switch to government funding could lead to more equitable sharing amongst the sports as the USOC would have more oversight. You could even run into the possibility of Congressional meddling should USA Team Handball ever establish a resident training program in some state. I.E., some congressman could be incentivized to make sure that funding is maintained at the university in his district.

Regardless, the fickleness of USOC funding is likely to remain. This is why the USA TH has been seeking alternate revenue sources such as its own sponsors and support from the international community. Hopefully, the USA will be able to wean itself out of this dependency, but the reality is that this won’t happen overnight

– PART I: RIFT WITH THE IOC: Deteriorating USOC-IOC relations threaten both organizations:
– PART III: In search of revenue, time to tap Uncle Sam?: