Sport

Vashon out... again

ISSA rules Ascot star ineligible for Champs due to low grades

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 01, 2014    

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He was out, then he was in, but now he's out again!

That's the situation facing Ascot High School's Vashon McCarthy, who will not be participating at this year's Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships because he has failed to make the required academic grades.

McCarthy, 16, the current Class Two shot put champion and Carifta Games Under-17 discus champion, was eventually entered by his school on February 20 after principal Cedric Murray threatened not to enter him because he was not training with the school.

Efforts to get a confirmation about the ineligibility of McCarthy from the ruling body ISSA proved futile, as competition director George Forbes could not be reached for comment, neither president Dr Walton Small.

But Murray admitted to the Jamaica Observer that the school had entered McCarthy, but the entry was rejected by ISSA because the athlete failed to acquire the minimum 45 per cent in at least four subjects.

"ISSA academic standard is 45 per subject in at least four subjects. We entered him through the ISSA system. We have a system and we entered him. ISSA has a system and they accept or reject," explained Murray.

But when quizzed as to McCarthy's academic average last year prior to Champs, the principal would only say: "I don't have it in front of me right now."

When asked if the student's average has dipped since last year, Murray said: "It would suggest that because he entered last year."

In January, the Observer broke the story that the Portmore-based Ascot would not be sending McCarthy to Champs because he was taking orders from an outside coach in Michael Vassell of Excelsior High.

The principal argued then that McCarthy had abandoned the school's sports programme and was training at Excelsior in the evenings.

McCarthy's mother Dianna Lennon cried foul, saying her son was only getting 'extra lessons' and the issue escalated into a national debate, more so since Ascot's head coach Errol Messiahs was also coaching at Calabar High.

But Murray was adamant, insisting that he had no knowledge of what the student was doing outside of the management of the school's designated coaches, and thus he couldn't enter him for Champs, because only his staff members (Ascot's coaches) could recommend the student to him.

However, the school's board intervened and mandated a meeting between the principal, the boy and the parents to resolve the matter.

An initial meeting of the parties broke down prematurely, after it became too heated.

Lennon's cellphone rang without an answer when the Observer tried to reach her yesterday.

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