The Amateur Sports Act of 1978, signed by President Jimmy Carter, established the United States Olympic Committee and provides for national governing bodies for each Olympic sport. The Act provides important legal protection for individual athletes.
This summary is from Wikipedia.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
10/13/1978--Passed House amended.
(Measure passed House, amended) Amateur Sports Act - Amends the corporate charter of the Olympic Committee to: (1) provide for a principal place of business in the United States for the United States Olympic Committee (Corporation); (2) authorize a majority of Corporation members to complete the organization; (3) set forth the objectives and purposes of the Corporation, including participation of handicapped individuals and minorities in international athletic competition programs; (4) set forth the powers of the Corporation; (5) provide for eligibility and the reasonable representation in the Corporation of amateur sports, organizations, amateur athletes, and members of the public; (6) subject to civil liability any person who uses an Olympic designation without authority to promote a private financial interest, but permits contributions or suppliers of goods or services to use the name of United States Olympic Committee or its designation to advertise that such goods or services have been furnished to, approved, or selected by the Corporation; (7) require the corporation to submit to the President and to Congress a detailed report of its operations for the preceding year; and (8) require the Corporation to establish in its constitution and bylaws provisions for the resolution of disputes involving the opportunity of an amateur athlete or other specified individuals to participate in sanctioned athletic competitions. Authorizes the Corporation to recognize as a national governing body any amateur sports organization (but only one for each sport) which submits an application for recognition and complies with eligibility requirements. Sets forth such eligibility requirements. Sets forth the duties and powers of a national governing body and the requirements which an amateur sports organization must meet to hold an athletic competition sanctioned by a national governing body. Requires the national governing body to permit an amateur sports organization to hold, subject to certain requirements, an amateur athletic competition in the United States or sponsor amateur athletes to compete in events outside the United States, unless the governing body determines by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring such competition would be detrimental to the best interests of the sport. Authorizes the national governing body to represent the United States in international sports federations and coordinate amateur athletic activity in the United States. Grants to the Corporation the power of review over the actions of any national governing body. Sets forth procedures for the Corporation in: (1) processing a complaint against a national governing body by an individual athlete or an amateur sports organization; (2) placing on probation or revoking recognition of a national governing body; and (3) replacing an incumbent national governing body. Provides for arbitration of a determination of the Corporation. Grants exclusive jurisdiction over specified types of amateur athletic competition to amateur sports organizations which conduct them. Requires such an amateur sports organization wishing to conduct or sponsor international amateur athletic competition to obtain a sanction from the appropriate national governing body.