Sunday, Jul 12, 2020
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High school nationals clouded with controversial issues

It was four years ago, when Evon Wisdom, the then after-school sports director in the Ministry of Education, unfolded national high school championships, and they were well-received. Particularly popular at the very outset was the basketball element.

The decision to add a Family Islands category was appropriate because of the disparity of talent, which placed the less-affluent island representatives at a distinct disadvantage, when going up against schools from New Providence and Grand Bahama.

This year, Wisdom, with his tag changed to “senior sports officer” at the ministry, still ramrods the high school championships and recently he announced that the Family Islands division has been eliminated. The move was immediately criticized. Perhaps the controversy has not been heightened because a large portion of the islands affected are somewhat out of touch, with limited communication.

However, controversy No. 2 has surfaced.

My understanding is that there is a matter regarding the coverage of costs for teams to travel to Freeport, Grand Bahama, for the event, slated for March 27 to April 1. Whereas in the past, the national championships committee had covered that end, the strong rumor is that schools will now have to foot their travel expenses.

Needless to say, there is resistance.

The pools (A and B) for female and male competition are set. Accordingly, teams have been placed in sections based on seeding.

The national championships concept is excellent. Former Education Minister Desmond Bannister is the architect of the very important role Wisdom is playing. It seems, though, that not enough of the national high school mentors have been brought around the table of the decisions. As a result, Wisdom has appeared to be sort of a lone wolf when it comes to organizing the various championships.

The body of work he handles cannot be legitimately disputed, but the advice from this forum is that the time has come to involve more of the country’s high school sports stakeholders in the planning and strategizing of the competitions.

Hopefully, the 2019 Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships will go off without much of a hitch. The national high school championships, without a doubt, expand the country’s sports brand. Wisdom though, and others within the education ministry who work along with him, should take a step back and review the championships template.

This sports dimension must certainly remain, but there would be no harm in bringing more around the table to get a larger consensus, going forward.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address [email protected] or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.


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