‘Our Business Is Not Yours’ – Wellington Says Government Cannot Dictate ISSA Affairs
Keith Wellington, vice-president of the Inter-Secondary Sports Association (ISSA), says government officials do not have the legal authority to dictate to the association which was formed and run by high school principals.
His comments come on the heels of Minister of Sport, Olivia Grange, stating that she also opposes ISSA’s rule which requires student-athletes to have averages of 45 per cent and higher in order to participate in any of ISSA’s competitions.
“Neither the minister of sport nor Education has the legal authority to dictate the rules of ISSA, because we are an organisation set up independently of any government agencies. In addition to that, membership to the association is based on invitation. And when they are accepted, they have to pay their application fee and they are expected to abide by the rules of the organisation, which has been set up by principals,” Wellington explained.
There have been calls by major players in the local sporting fraternity, including the media, for ISSA to change the mentioned rule as it is believed by these parties to discriminate against student-athletes who do not excel in academics.
But Wellington and his colleagues at ISSA believe that student-athletes must show that they are not only at school to participate in sports, but are on the path obtaining the necessary requirement needed to matriculate to tertiary institutions.
Hold Students Accountable
“We have to hold accountable for their academic performances. I think the 45 per cent is not even a decent standard, but the rationale for the rule is to ensure that legitimate students are participating. I am totally in opposition to the minister as to whether or not the rule is required,” Wellington explained.
“If we look at where our successes have come from in the past, we would recognize that the successes have come from athletes who had the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school. MVP, for example which is undoubtedly is our most successful track club, has a policy where they recruit students to be enrolled in college. Prior to that, most of our successful athletes had gone through the US collegiate system and benefited from being able to attend universities in the USA.”