The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) have signed a Protocol of Cooperation with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), to offer tertiary education opportunities to local sporting stakeholders.
For the past 40 years, the USSA has been delivering sports education across 65 countries, in an effort to establish a desirable model of sport collaboration and development.
JOA and JPA President Christopher Samuda said that the Protocol for Cooperation was designed to build an academic base in sports, through cooperative programmes in research, education and service.
He says that those enrolled in the programme will be exposed to the technical and practical elements of sports, for the purpose of promoting holistic development for all stakeholders.
“It gives our athletes, coaches and administrators options in terms of pursuing an educational career,” Samuda said. “The signing of this Protocol for Cooperation extends both to stakeholders in the Olympic movement and the Paralympic movement. So, Paralympic athletes, coaches, managers will be able to pursue options at the USSA, and hopefully, out of this protocol, we will be able to establish some strategic partnerships that will also birth other partnerships.
“When you have resident expertise and the capacity, then that is a foundation in which you can build a sports industry. Certainly, early in the new year, we are going to be rolling out the programme. We are going to have further discussions with the officers and principals of the USSA, and we hope by March all things will be ironed out, so that we can start immediately,” added Samuda.
“This is absolutely a win for sports. If you want to pursue the matter, and pursue an education at the academy, then you will be able to. Contact us, and we will indicate what are the eligibility requirements, and of course, we will be negotiating certain waivers in relation to entry.”
Educational opportunities will be provided at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels in courses such as Sport Management and Studies, Exercise Science, Sports Coaching and Recreation Management.
PROTOCOL OF COOPERATION
JOA secretary general and CEO, Ryan Foster, who is also a director at JPA, said that the signing of the Protocol of Cooperation represents a milestone for sports in Jamaica and the region.
“This is what I would consider their pension plan, as most times an athlete’s shelf life is around 35 to 40 years, but an education is a lifetime investment,” Foster said.“I believe with the USSA, this will enable us to not only create that opportunity for them, but also an opportunity for us to build a sport academy here in Jamaica. We will be working closely with the USSA and other Olympic associations that have implemented a sports academy.
“We believe that is next for us, and we will be working with all universities that have a sports management course. We have our own advanced sports management course that we are expanding next year. But, the implementation of a brick-and-mortar sports academy is something on the horizon for 2021 and beyond, and the USSA will provide guidance in that regard to ensure that it is self-actualised,” Foster stated.
The Protocol of Cooperation is an expansion of the JOA’s scholarship and internship programmes and will be in effect for the next 10 years.