Laurie Foster | Has ISSA said and done enough?
The Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has, in its own mind, come to the rescue of its lesser celebrated member schools. These institutions can, perhaps more handsomely, be referred to as the producers of athletic talent that was not afforded the satisfaction of taking it all the way through the high school journey.
They possess small programmes that are inadequately funded and are losing out to the more prestigious schools which have a host of past students willing and more than able to open their cheque books to assist when they are contacted.
While not claiming the ultimate victory, Foster's Fairplay will refer to the latest move by ISSA as a partial but personal triumph because it is something which this column has been suggesting for some time.
If one listens to the grapevine, far too many injustices were being portrayed to facilitate these transactions and it was full time the governing body did what was in the best interests of those who are not so influential, but who look to ISSA for support. The question should, however, be asked, has ISSA said and done enough?
Effective January 1, 2019, according to the ISSA press release, "For cricket, football, and hockey, three players will be allowed to transfer from one school to another in that same corresponding sport. Netball, volleyball, and basketball will be limited to two transfers, while track and field will be allowed two transfers per class."
Keith Wellington, vice-president of ISSA, is quoted as saying that the latest move was carried by a unanimous vote. It was also said that the new rule will be applicable to all students, including sixth- formers.
ISSA should realise that every system has its elite - those who sit above the common man. This can be as a result of their connections or simply being in the right place at the right time.
Those who occupy that position should be respected for what they are and, most important, for the good they have done for their fellowmen. They are not invisible and their work is, most times, on display for all who wish to take notice. They are as much a part of the assembly line of talent as any other. For their sterling input over time, they deserve all that comes to them. It should be the duty of ISSA to give support to those entities so they are better positioned to pass it on to the less fortunate. It should never be an us-and-them situation.
ISSA is empowered to make these rule changes and many others, if, in its wisdom, they are necessary, so there should be no opposition to that. It also has a right and should be its downright duty to look into other allegations that have been allowed to escape the radar. The group is clearly not structured to go that far and, in the interest of transparency, that needs to be fixed. Otherwise, it can ring all the attendant changes, but the playing field will never be level.
Foster's Fairplay is calling for an investigative arm to the governing body. It should be qualified to probe some of the imbalances that could remain even after the new regulations take effect. It makes little sense bringing rules to bear if voluntary compliance is not at a satisfactory standard.
It is thoroughly appreciated that all the deviants will not be caught, but there should be a strong deterrent to encourage the potential miscreants to stand in line. To catch and severely punish those who fail to comply, should be more than enough to persuade them to adjust their errant ways. Let ISSA be aware of this, and do all in its power to implement. It could be a contribution to sports, which it holds so zealously to its chest.