This weekend, February (19-22), the 21st version of the HOYTES Geneva Rutherford Female
Basketball Classic is scheduled at the St. George’s Gymnasium in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Through the years, McPhee, a major sports plank on his own right, has campaigned for the national basketball development program to put more meaningful focus on females. Particularly around this time, every year though, when he showcases female teams in his tournament, Coach McPhee heightens his lobbying.
“It’s really a disgrace. Once I get through with the tournament this year, I’m going to deal further with this situation. Female basketball is at a low ebb in this country and it is because there is really no national development plan for them.
“Where is it? Oh, they take teams to travel but where is the development program? How can you expect female basketball in the country to grow?”
“There has to be a greater focus and I intend to deal with that,” said
Coach McPhee, as he prepared once more, to do his part in putting female basketball in the spotlight.
His comments regarding the absence of a quality national development program in basketball, is a broadside at the present Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), headed by President Mario Bowleg. Like the previous administrations, Bowleg’s group is in charge of a parent organization that fails to flex its national status muscle.
I understand (unless the fee has changed and was not announced) that the federation gets the paltry sum of $10,000 for the “Battle 4 Atlantis” which has become a leading tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Associations (NCAA).
According to the Battle 4 Atlantis website, this tournament which was founded by Kerzner International and has ESPN partnership, awards participating schools $2 million.
Indeed, when a NCAA school participates, it could get as much as $200,000. Yet, the local federation that endorses the event, gets $10,000. This makes no sense at all, in my view. Let me emphasize that this tournament could not take place, unless Bowleg and his executive colleagues endorse it.
This small country, through the BBF, actually has the powerplay against a huge NCAA tournament.
The rabbit’s got the gun!
The table could be turned in favor of an empowered national basketball program.
I say to Bowleg, get to the negotiating table, bargain for much more of that multi-million budget that “Battle 4 Atlantis” has and build a national development program that would have Jonquel Jones-type players developing all over this archipelago.
I threw out this challenge to the federation years ago and the leaders at the time, inclusive Bowleg, did not appear to think of it as such a good idea. In fact, the federation released a statement, indicating satisfaction with the treatment received.
Of course, their collective mindset was questioned by many.
Bowleg should reconsider the stand he supported previously, and, engage “Battle 4 Atlantis” principals in talks related, primarily, to an increased endorsement fee.
Then, Coach McPhee, there will be funding for the appropriate development of female and male basketball!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).
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