How Australian Shepherds became an AKC recognized breed
Short version: in 1985 ASCA's membership was polled about AKC recognition. The results of the poll were: 69.5% against AKC recognition.
In 1991, a small group of Australian Shepherd enthusiasts formed a "parent club" and petitioned the AKC to recognize the Australian Shepherd. They had approximately 100 members and called themselves the Australian Shepherd Association (ASA). This name was later changed to the United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA).
AKC accepted the ASA/USASA as the parent club of the Australian Shepherd and added the Australian Shepherd to their list of accepted breeds, despite their previous knowledge of ASCA as the parent club (with members that had voted against AKC recognition).
ASA/USASA had no stud book or registered pedigrees, and Aussie fanciers that wished to have their dogs added to the AKC stud book began buying registered pedigrees from ASCA in order to follow AKC's rules of needing registered pedigrees to add dogs. ASCA promptly stopped issuing registered pedigrees.
AKC immediately dropped their requirement for registered pedigrees and accepted any pedigree submitted, including hand-written pedigrees. This action went against every edict that AKC had/has regarding the acceptance of new breeds.
For more detailed information on the process, click on the links below. The Dog World article gives a timeline and much more detail about the persons involved in the AKC/ASA/USASA relationship, and the ASCA Delegate Letter is ASCA's response to AKC.