V.I. Sports Commission May Gain Committee Members

Sen. Javan James Sr. chairs Monday’s Youth, Sports, Park, and Recreation hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature)

The Senate Committee on Youth, Sports, Parks and Recreation unanimously advanced legislation on Monday that, if enacted, would add two members to the Virgin Islands Sports Commission – something not all testifiers were in favor of.

This bill proposes that the University of the Virgin Islands athletic director and the administrator of the Little Leagues of the Virgin Islands be added as members of the Sports Commission, but Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White said caution should be exercised.

“While I am in favor of [UVI] having a representative, I am not in favor of that representative being the athletic director for purposes of contradiction,” White said. “I would be very, very cautious of putting the athletic director on a board that is going to be putting together policies to govern our athletes when they in fact are going to be recruiting those same athletes.”

Sen. Stedmann Hodge Jr. said that the Department of Education should have a seat at the table, “but the voice needs to come from the right individual.” According to White, the current athletic director for the university “attends committee meetings regularly, so the Department of Education does have representation.”

But it wasn’t just the proposed university representative that White questioned, but also the proposed Little League representative.

“I believe the members of this commission on a whole is for sports in its entirety and not a specific sport. When you look at the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation, baseball is represented. When you look at the Department of Education and what they do with school sports, baseball is represented. If you look at the president of the Baseball Federation … who is also a member of the commission, baseball is represented. So, I am not sure what is the purpose of adding Little League,” White said.

Committee Chair Sen. Javan James Sr. said that there may be changes to address the concerns raised by testifiers, in the form of amendments that would be brought up in the Rules and Judiciary Committee.

The legislation is now forwarded to Rules and Judiciary for further review.

Sens. Hodge, James, Steven Payne Sr., Janelle Sarauw, Kurt Vialet, Dwayne DeGraff and Athneil Thomas were present for the hearing.