Monday, April 15, 2024

BCA on wrong path


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One of the?good things that has distinguished the Joel Garner administration so far is that it has not been embroiled in controversy like some of the regimes that preceded it.
Sure, there have been one or two issues but nothing like in the past when it seemed that almost everything had to be settled in Coleridge Street.
I wish they would keep in that mode because an unstable organization will not be able to concentrate on its national mandate to develop cricket at all levels.
Many an institution and the BCA has its own antecedents to prove it can be distracted through internal and external conflicts.
Alas, it seems that the BCA is stirring up ants nests they can avoid.
What’s the motive behind limiting UWI students to a five-year period in the team?
Is it constitutional to do that? Can this be viewed as discrimination? Is someone jealous of their success and wants to put a spoke in their wheel?
I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking along these lines apart, of course, from the university who seems set to contest the BCA’s ruling.
Honestly, I hope it won’t get to the stage where litigation would be involved.
I think any objective, openminded observer will conclude it was known from the start that UWI’s presence in senior cricket was earmarked to be developmental and it was on that basis, for instance, they were included with the seniors without earning it because they didn’t go through the relegation-promotion process.
The BCA bought into the university’s vision and did so without placing restrictions.
So this makes the latest association’s move look funny especially after UWI swept all the major honours last season.
Some are bound to ask why now?
Another question is: who gives the BCA the authority to legislate on the length of time it takes for any individual in the team to complete their studies at Cave Hill?
Is someone trying to imply that some of the players aren’t undertaking academic studies at any tertiary institution and are therefore ineligible to represent them?
If that is being implied, won’t the onus be on the association to prove it? I know some of the BCA members are lawyers so they must have had sound legal advice on this issue before they changed the rules specifically for the university.
The matter with the umpires took some of us by surprise too. There seemed to be a total breakdown in communication between the sides. 
If the umpires’ story was true, and nobody said otherwise, I think the matter of pay hikes should’ve been dealt with more expeditiously.
Instead, it came across as though the umpires were taken for granted. Some would say disrespected.
They deserved better. I know these are times every organization wants to practise wage restraint but you cannot avoid coming to the table to discuss the issue with those who seek a pay hike and better working conditions or both.
Seems like a norm, a common courtesy that forms one of the basics of industrial relations. A decision can only be reached if both sides get together.
In the end it was solved amicably but it should never have been an issue. And not too long before that somebody got it totally wrong about who had qualified for the semifinals of the Regional Super50 between Barbados and ironically the Combined Campuses and Colleges with the nucleus of the squad coming from those who play for Sagicor UWI in local competitions.
Given the latest flare up, it might be interpreted by some that there’s bad blood between the two institutions.
Not forgetting either that two seasons ago there was another stand-off between them concerning which players were eligible to represent who in regional tournaments.
Definitely there’s a need to cease and settle especially when both organizations claim to be devoted to the cause of improving cricket for domestic, regional and international benefit.
I think the onus, though, is on the Garner administration to show the kind of leadership that can pour water on a fire that need not get out of hand.  
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning freelance sports journalist.


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