The British Columbia High School Boys Basketball Association is addressing concerns from its membership regarding boarding schools and international student-athletes. (Varsity Letters file photo)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

BCHSBBA membership unanimously passes motion regarding boarding school student-athletes, issue now moves to B.C. School Sports AGM

LANGLEY — B.C. High Schools Boys Basketball Association president Paul Eberhardt came across some pretty interesting paperwork last Friday night as he prepared for the next morning’s annual general meeting at the Langley Events Centre.

“It was quite funny, I had all the minutes going back to 1950, so just for fun last I opened up the 1950 AGM minutes, and  I showed the coaches this morning,” said Eberhardt, now in his fourth straight year as BCHSBBA president, the longest in the entire association’s history.

“The first concern was the $5 registration fee,” he chuckled. “Some coaches were outraged that it was too much of a fee to have to pay to join the association. We had a laugh about that.

“But then I scrolled down and the only other concern in 1950 was a concern with transfers and recruiting,” he said. “So it’s something that has been there forever and something that is always a concern. Just how you go about solving it is a really difficult issue.”

Yes, the same issues at the 1950 AGM, chaired by then-BCHSBBA president Cyril Nixon, still exist today.

And last Saturday, in a reflection of both the changing times, and the depth and complexity of the recruiting issue, one topic moved immediately to the front-burner.

“There was a motion put on the floor at our meeting with regard to international, or boarding school students, not being allowed to be given financial incentives to go to those schools,” began Eberhardt.

“There is a big concern now with boarding schools becoming more prominent, that a kid can come from another country and live on campus, or even from somewhere else in the province, and the way our eligibility rules are written, those kids are eligible right away.

“If you’re at a public school, you can’t really have the opportunity to do that. You don’t have anywhere to board your students. International students have to pay, so a lot of coaches are becoming concerned that the playing field is becoming really difficult now. So the motion passed unanimously that students that are attending under those circumstances can not be given a financial incentive to do so. In other words, they can’t be getting scholarships. If someone really wants to do that, it has to be something they are doing on their own. We don’t want to give students a financial inducement to attend a certain school.”

Added Eberhardt: “It’s not just boarding schools, but international students and the role they are going to play in our association.”

The next step?

That comes in May.

“It will have to go to the B.C. School Sports AGM, so it becomes a bit more complicated there,” the president continued. “I’m not sure that rule will get through, but I felt it was important discussion that we needed to have at our meeting, and a lot of coaches are very concerned, because when you only have so many berths from your zone, and you’re having to compete against a school that can bring in five, six, seven players from other countries, it makes for a pretty uneven playing field.”

If it is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM, Eberhardt said it would be implemented in September and would be for all sports.

“So basketball, we passed it, but we don’t have the power to implement that change,” he said. “That has to be an eligibility change for B.C. School Sports. If it makes it to the floor, it will be debated and argued at B.C. School Sports, and if it were to pass there, it would be implemented for all sports because basketball is not unique. There are other sports where this has caused a serious issue.”

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