New structure and system for Schools` Basketball


This week on Swishing the Nets – Basketball in 05 Minutes, we met with Br. Joseph Jeyakanthan, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Schools Basketball Association, to discuss the revitalized school’s basketball system, the new changes made and how it will shape the future of school’s basketball.

The structure of the Sri Lanka Schools` Basketball Association for its tournaments are intact. 03 prime age categories (U15, U17 & U19) for both girls` and boys` in 03 divisions (A, B & C), provides ample exposure for all schools to showcase their talents.  But, it`s the system that operates in the structure that needs mending.

Schools` not being promoted or demoted from one division to another, lacking a proper time or in simpler words, a set season for the players to engage in the sport, creates problems in the present system.

The administration, coming into 2018, have taken steps to amend the loop-holes in promoting and demoting and revitalized the arena for a better tomorrow of the sports breeding grounds.

Below are the excerpts of the interview with Br. Joseph Jeyakanthan.

Can you explain the major changes made to the U19 setup?

The normal system that we have been following every year is that we send out an invitation to the schools to participate in the tournament. Yet, coming into 2019, we have decided the maximum number of schools that will participate in all the three divisions of the U19 setup.  

From this year onwards, going forward we will rank each school from 01 and below. The top 20 schools will play the A Division while, the rest of the schools have been divided into B and C. Because of this, we will have 04 new schools joining the elite division from the B division this year. It will be a good chance for schools from Jaffna and Batticaloa to gain more exposure to also play more competitive games.

Same system will apply for the girls` tournaments as well. 2018, we will start from 12 schools but going into 2019 we hope to maximize it and make it 20 schools in the elite division.

What`s the basis on which the teams have been ranked?

Before finalizing the new system at an exco-meeting, we discussed the matter in an extensive manner. The senior members explained that in the past a system was present to run the all island tournament in all three divisions: A, B & C. A Division facilitated 20 teams, while B & C facilitated 24 teams each. With time and bad policymaking, the system has gone astray and been neglected.

The rankings for 2018 have been finalized for the U19 segment based on the performance of the schools during the 2017 season.

With the system being neglected, the same schools remained in same divisions. Since that was hindering the development of the game, after many discussions in the exco meeting we are implementing the same system which was approved in the past to revitalize the schools` basketball arena.

So, from 2018, A Division will facilitate 20 schools in both girls` and boys` categories while B & C will facilitate 24 schools each. From 2019, we are planning to expand the same structure into the U17 and U15 age groups as well.

Tell us about the new ‘Rulebook’ laid out for Schools Basketball?

When we conducted tournaments in the recent past, as an association we have encountered many diversified problems. When these problems came into light, certain people say we had a rule of this kind and that kind but none of it is found in written format which put us the association in a deep spot of bother.

Coming into 2019, with the help of our main sponsor of the U19 segment, – Sri Lanka`s NO. 01 Sports Hub, we have prepared guidelines to prepare a general rule book so that it will act as guidance in over-coming all the problems that are encountered when conducting the tournament.

The matches will be played to the FIBA rules. Apart from the FIBA rules that will govern the discipline of the match, we have prepared around 75 rules under 10 guidelines to govern the entire tournament and uphold the integrity of it. The newly prepared set of rules are now with the Ministry of Education. Once the rules are approved by the Ministry, we will implement them for all the age category for both girls` and boys`.

Will the other age groups follow the U19 structure as well?

We are planning to start next with the U17 age category if we can from this year onwards, but in 2019 all three age categories, U15, U17 and U19 will follow the same structure.