Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Calabar turns up heat on ISSA

Published:Thursday | March 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment
Calabar High School athletes lift the Mortimer Geddes Trophy at the end of a recent staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

Calabar High says that the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has further deepened what it calls the perception of it being a body which considers itself to be above critique or accountability.

The school says this is because ISSA has not responded to its request for a statement regarding its ruling, which allows Kingston College's (KC) Ari Rodgers to compete at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships later this month.

Rodgers is a Ugandan middle-distance runner, who is regarded as one of the favourites for the Boys' Class 2 1500m and 800m events at Champs. He joined KC in October last year, missing ISSA's registration deadline of September 30. ISSA has cleared him to compete, citing what is being described as "extenuating circumstances".

However, Calabar, the defending Boys' Champions, released a statement yesterday saying ISSA's refusal to publicly address the complaints has led to the school making three assumptions.

The first of these is that Rodgers' eligibility is arguable as he is ineligible based on what it says is "ISSA's clearly stated and enunciated criteria".

The second is that the student being registered before his arrival in Jamaica is inaccurate. Calabar's statement says "to be promised, offered, granted a space in an institution isn't the same thing as being registered. In fact, the Ministry of Education's Policy is that a student cannot be registered in absentia. The parent may be absent for registration but not the student!"




The third is that ISSA acted unfairly in that an exception was made for Rodgers and KC with regard to these "extenuating circumstances", however, no similar lenience was shown to athletes of other schools in the past, who had situations that may also be considered extenuating.

"Needless to say, it would be most helpful if ISSA articulated some of these factors and juxtaposed them against other instances in which they failed to apply this discretion," the release from Red Hills Road-based school read.

The statement went on to say that Calabar's issue is with ISSA, not KC, and that it does not want to make Rodgers a victim of circumstances he did not create himself.

Calabar's statements are similar to those of its head coach, Michael Clarke, who recently told The Gleaner that he believes this decision will cause the public to seriously challenge ISSA's credibility. He also said that the decision sets what he described as a dangerous and fragile precedent, because it now leads to the possibility of persons taking legal action against ISSA whenever an unfavourable decision is made in the future.