Track & Field News of Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Source: Paul E. Effah

Athletics: Has Former GAA Boss George Lutterodt Put Martha Bissah in Limbo?

Former Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) Chairman George Lutterodt recently announced that he had personally recused Martha Bissah from purported enemies and secured a scholarship for her in the US worth $32,000.

Martha Bissah left the shores of Ghana 10 days ago for Norfolk State University (NSU) about two weeks after the university opened for the current term.

However, current reports from credible sources indicate that there is more to Bissah's scholarship story than meets the eye.

A number of people familiar with the scholarship process to US universities first raised eye brows when the former boss announced NSU had signed Martha Bissah to a scholarship.

NSU falls under the competition category know as NCAA Division 1. According to the NCAA Division 1 rules, an athlete must first be cleared by the NCAA concerning eligibility on academics and on amateurism before being signed to a sports scholarship.

It seemed strange that a scholarship was offered before competition eligibility determination. This is because if Bissah is ruled ineligible she cannot compete for the school even if she has a non-sports scholarship.

It has been confirmed that Martha Bissah has not been cleared by the NCAA as of September 12, 2016. Indeed, the publicity generated by the former GAA boss may be the primary reason why Bissah's situation keeps getting complicated as the NCAA and coaches elsewhere learn more about her situation.

It should be remembered that after Bissah's 2014 Youth Olympics win, a few US Universities became interested in her. However, the lack of access to her educational documents and reports in Ghana media about financial support from individuals and organizations, a violation of NCAA amateurism rules, caused some coaches to stay away.

With the GAA's former boss's announcement to the world about a scholarship to NSU, all NCAA coaches who have access to the NCAA eligibility system seemed to have finally gotten a look at some of her educational documents.

Although all of the coaches spoken to for this story declined to share the details of the educational documents witnessed, they are certain that Bissah does not meet the initial academic eligibility requirements.

Ghanaians pray and hope that somehow Bissah's makes it through the system. If she's deemed to be ineligible and cannot compete at the NCAA Division 1 level, then the former GAA chairman would have just made her life a lot more complicated.