There have been times when Boys and Girls' Championships end long after the last hurrah.
In 1991, a scoring recount forced Calabar to deliver the Mortimer Geddes Trophy to Jamaica College the Monday after the end of Champs. In 2005, the girls' 400 metre hurdles final was rerun inside an empty National Stadium on Sunday morning.
Few probably know that the winner was 2008 Olympian-to-be, Nickiesha Wilson, of Alpha Academy.
This year, life has flipped the script. Some of the key outcomes of Champs 2013 have been affected before the first hurrah. Calabar's captain Demar Robinson and Wolmerian sprint prospect Odean Skeen have been declared scholastically ineligible on the eve of Champs.
Opinions are split on this matter. Some feel that overly strict rules prevent student-athletes from pursuing a career path in athletics. Others strike a note of caution. For them, a sound traditional education is the best way to prepare for adult life.
There has also been an adjunct debate about the emergence of the 'fifth-and-a-half' form.
Government regulates schools in the operation of students up to fifth form. There is more freedom with sixth form. In that construct, admitting a student, athlete or not, to sixth form with only three CXC passes is a decision for the school's faculty.
When the student is a good citizen and an athlete who has added value to the school, the decision can make up its own mind. Once the student gets the green light, much effort must be made to improve academically. Often, this will require time management on the part of the student-athletes and cooperation between the faculty and athletics team to keep the academic mission on track.
Theoretically, such a candidate could do CAPE subjects related to those CXC passes already obtained and resit additional CXC examinations to meet the ISSA requirement of four to be eligible for interscholastic competition. That's simple enough but is also subject, like all rules, to change and discussion.
GROWTH IN SPORTS INDUSTRY
Those discussions won't end. Since sport is one of the few growth industries around, some will soon ask the educator to do more to accommodate those who want to pursue careers in sports.
In a country with a sports college, with physical education taught at high school and faculties at our universities devoted to sport, the possibilities are expanding.
The real truth is that the student-athlete has to balance his or her scholastic and sporting obligations. Anything less will hurt. Most schools help with that balance by offering extra lessons to student-athletes.
Skeen now can only watch the Class One 100 and 200 sprints from the sidelines. As Youth Olympic 100 champion and World Junior bronze medallist, he was expected to battle Delano Williams of Munro, Odail Todd of Green Island and Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk for supremacy. He was coming back from an early-season injury but looked pretty quick at the Gibson Relays.
Perhaps medals in the 100 and 200 might have erased last year's bitter taste. He crashed out of the Class One 100 final following a false start.
Robinson's departure affects the team battle for top honours and ruins a fine Class One high jump duel with Wolmer's wunderkind Christophe Bryan. The latter might take the Class One mark to new heights, but if Robinson were there the record would be almost guaranteed. Robinson won a silver medal in that event and the triple jump last year.
This year's Boys and Girls' Championships take place against a backdrop of disappointment. Academics are an essential part of life for the student-athlete. Few can survive adult life without a sound academic foundation.
There is a ripple effect for next week's competition but there is a greater consideration. Student-athletes, their parents and teachers have to find the balance that feeds success on and off the field. To paraphrase an old table tennis colleague of mine, we mustn't kill champions. We must raise them.
Hubert Lawrence is the author of 'Champs 100: A Century of Jamaican High School Athletics 1910-2010'.