The History of the United States Billiard Association
The History of the United States Billiard Association is really the history of three separate organizations here in the United States: The USBA itself which was preceded by The Billiard Federation of the USA and the American Billiard Association.
THE BILLIARD FEDERATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (1966-1988)
Formed in 1966 by Robert Byrne, Edward Courtney and Dr. Virgil E. Erikson, the Billiard Federation of the USA (BFUSA) was a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion and advancement of billiards, particularly three-cushion billiards, in the United States. Organized in 1966, it was accepted the same year as the North American affiliate of the World Union of Billiards (UMB) or Union Mondiale de Billard, which continues as the governing body of world amateur billiards. The other affiliates of the UMB, with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the Billiard Confederation of Europe, Africa, Asia and South America which themselves are composed of numerous federations of individual countries. The creation of the BFUSA enabled players from the United States to qualify and compete in the World Championship tournaments sanctioned by UMB.
To help launch the BFUSA, the UMB authorized a special World Invitational Tournament and authorized six of the finest three-cushion billiard players in the world to compete in San Francisco in October, 1966. Two players each from the European, Asian and South American confederations and three players from the United States rounded out the field which was one of the finest ever assembled and witnessed in the US up to that time. The great skill, courtesy and sportsmanship of the foreigh players was a pleasure for all to see and was marvelled by spectators and contestants alike. The players and conduct of the tournament itself set a fine example which the BFUSA aspired to emulate.
During the latter part of 1967 the BFUSA, according to plans to rejuvenate billiards in this country, sanctioned sectional tournaments throughout the USA, the first effort of its kind in more than fifteen years. Those efforts culminated on February 6-10, 1968, when the BFUSA held its first USA National Championship Three-Cushion Billiard Tournament in San Jose, California. Allen Gilbert, the BFUSA Champion, subsequently went on to compete in the World Championship tournament held in Duren, Germany April 24-28, 1968
The BFUSA continued to sanction sectional tournaments on an annual basis followed by National Championship Tournaments in order to determine the Champions who had throughout those years represented the USA in World Championship Tournaments in many foreign countries. The BFUSA would last for twenty years along side another organization dedicated to promoting the sport.
THE AMERICAN BILLIARD ASSOCIATION (1968-1988)
The American Billiard Association (ABA) was founded in 1968 by Robert Byrne, Don Tozer, Merhl Smith, Harold Schmidt and others to provide regular 3-cushion billiard tournaments throughout the Midwest. The ABA soon spread to the entire country and was divided into three divisions: East, Central and West.
THE UNITED STATES BILLIARD ASSOCIATION (1988 - PRESENT)
In 1988, the BFUSA and ABA merged to form the United States Billiard Association. And so the USBA was born.