Tue | Jul 25, 2017

Cleveland Monroe | Inconsistent ISSA has questions to answer

Published:Tuesday | March 14, 2017 | 3:00 AMCleveland Monroe
Ari Rodgers of Kingston College winning the 1,500 metres at the Puma-JAAA development meet at Kirkvine, Manchester, recently.

The ruling by ISSA to allow the Ugandan student athlete representing Kingston College to compete, despite breaching two of its own rules, is a monumental act of injustice to the many other student athletes of Jamaica who had have to sit out a year or miss Champs or any other ISSA-run competition.

The rules clearly state that a student athlete must be registered by the 30th day of September the previous year to be eligible to participate in Champs of the following year. The young man started school on the 18th day of October 2016. Also, there is a requirement that 80 per cent of the classes for the preceding term to the Championship be attended. Based on these two rules, Ari Rodgers is automatically ineligible to participate at Champs 2017, as he came after September 30, 2016 and he failed to meet the 80 per cent bar.

On two separate times, George Forbes, ISSA's competitions director, announced that the young man was ineligible as a result of these two rules. However, he later said that KC made an appeal for him on humanitarian reasons and extenuating circumstances that ISSA reconsider. ISSA has now ruled him eligible. This is a grave miscarriage of justice for all the other students before who were not allowed to participate at Champs because of these two rules.

 

NO CONSIDERATION GIVEN

 

Just two weeks ago, ISSA stopped a cricket game because the Tarrant High School team wasn't in all-white sneakers. They were not given a chance, but had to forfeit the match and the points because they broke the rule. No consideration was given to them. Tarrant have subsequently forfeited two games because they couldn't afford to outfit the team in all-white shoes.

In 2011, nine schools were barred from Champs because they missed the deadline date. No exceptions were made, no exemptions were given. This affected many students, yet ISSA had no problem enforcing the rules. So why has ISSA bent, and broken, the rule to accommodate this KC student?

This is what Dr Walton Small said in a published interview of The Gleaner of March 15, 2011:

ISSA boss Dr Walton Small, who is also the principal of defending boys' champions Wolmer's, shared his sentiments while empathising with the students from the affected institutions and imploring administrators to pay greater attention to their roles and responsibilities:

"Nothing can be done now (for the affected students/schools), but one of the things that I will be taking back to the principals right now is, the system that is in place really punishes the children, they are the ones getting the hard end of the stick," Small reasoned.

"There may be some reformation. One of the things that we as principals will have to look at is what we can put in place to correct this. I can't tell you what that may be now, but it's something we have to look at," Small continued.

He also said this: "ISSA cannot be inconsistent in its operations, because last year and over the years, a number of schools were excluded because of late entry, and to do otherwise this year would be inconsistent. If you are late, you are late," Small closed.

 

DOUBLE STANDARD

 

How could he have said this in barring NINE schools, yet bend the rules to accommodate one?

The reasons given for Rodgers' late arrival are irrelevant. "If you're late, you're late," according to Dr Small. The adults making his arrangements didn't do their due diligence. They should have checked his travel route and ensured that all that was needed was procured before travel. They could have simply used a travel agent!

Many kids have been deemed ineligible by this rule before, and now this young man is allowed. I would like to know why? The year St George's were barred, it was a particularly painful situation for the likes of head boy and top high jumper Kemarki Absalom, sprinters Tremaine Barnett, Oraine Christie as well as Kenton Smith, who would not get a chance to run again at Champs, as it was their final year in school. Here we have a young man with five years of eligibility, as he is only a first-year Class Two athlete, so has another Class Two year and three at Class One. Why is there such an urgency to have him participate this year in contravention of the rules?

ISSA, with this ruling, has further brought itself into disrepute. ISSA has done irreparable damage to its authority and integrity. Shame on you, ISSA, shame on you!

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