Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Rein in coaches in student athlete transfers

Published:Wednesday | March 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The announcement by the minister of education to implement measures to eliminate or provide a structure to the recruitment of student athletes will create a paradigm shift in school athletic competitions that will eventually grow sport qualitatively.

What is conspicuously absent, however, is that there is no sanction for administrators who will seek to circumvent this new policy. The Code of Regulation of the Education Act (1980) Section 28 established in a clear and concise manner the criteria for a transfer to occur. Those who should be the guardians of the moral compass and the moulding of values have been wantonly breaching this section with impunity. They have never been held accountable for breaches they have facilitated.

To have an appreciation for the recruiting process and its potential damage, it is necessary to examine the structure of sports in high schools in Jamaica. Most coaches are seasonal or contract workers recruited from outside the educational system.

The foremost objective of these coaches is to produce results. Subsequently, they establish a system similar to a professional club. These coaches and their scouts will present themselves at every track meet, football match, cricket match and netball match to identify potential or talented student athletes to draft in their programmes. This level of scouting and recruitment is only possible with the blessing of the administrators.

These coaches are least concerned with:

1. The literacy level to function adequately in a structured educational programme;

2. The ability of the schools to establish or have established mechanisms to facilitate students who require additional help to function in the educational process;

3. The cognitive development of these students.

What they see is a boy or girl who possesses talents that will fit into his or her programme. They make arrangements, aided and abetted by alumni, to accommodate these talents just for the sake of representing their alma mater.

The sad truth is that these coaches will use this medium to gain national recognition, positioning themselves to be selected for country duties.

One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to realise that whenever certain coaches leave a programme, it virtually dies.

C. GEORGE MORTLEY

evilc25@gmail.com

Springfield Garden, NY