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Kent Crusaders Statement – The Canterbury Academy DISE Tender

As announced by Basketball England this week, The Canterbury Academy has been unsuccessful in its tender to retain its place as one of the DiSE academies from September 2024 and, therefore, will no longer be able to compete in the EABL from the 2024-25 season onwards.

We are at a loss regarding how this decision was reached based on the published criteria. Our tender document has been published in full (LINK) on our website for full transparency. The Academy’s overall scores, for each section, were provided with no detailed breakdown and a small number of bullet points of feedback on the document. Unfortunately, Basketball England is withholding the successful tenders and their scores, preventing the ability to benchmark our tender.

Additionally, we have published the comprehensive appeal to the Basketball England decision (LINK). The appeal was dismissed with no further feedback other than “dismissed”. For this reason, we are left with no other recourse than to strongly and publicly dispute the score given and deem it an unfair reflection of the Academy. 

Written tenders were submitted from each Academy and then independently scored by five people. There were significant gaps in the background of some of the panel members in either their experience of elite basketball or 16-19 education. Only one member visited the Academies who bid. The other four members judged solely from a written application, and we strongly challenge the ability to accurately assess the quality of provision without any visits or discussions. The panel did not consult Basketball England’s own leads in Performance, Coaching or Sports Science on the decision; It was exclusively determined by one member of the performance team and four volunteers with varying backgrounds. We cannot understand how a process of this importance was conducted in such a passive manner. 

We are incredibly proud of our part in developing the Academy system across the country. Canterbury Academy has been part of the programme since the first full group of AASE schools. We were one of a small group of coaches who created the EABL and built it into the premier junior competition in the country, showcasing our best players and working collaboratively to support their development. We have supported numerous academies around education funding and structures to help them establish and grow their academies. The Canterbury Academy has invested over £1 million into the Basketball Academy since its launch in 2009.

Moreover, we are immensely proud of the players and coaches we have supported on their journey. From the numerous players we have helped to play at the professional level, gain scholarships to the USA and Canada or excel in BUCS programmes; to the coaches who have moved on to lead their own programmes around the country; to the coaching and SSEM staff and team managers we have provided for national teams – this is a testament to why we run the Academy the way we do… prioritising the development of people on their journey.

We are devastated and astonished that Basketball England recognised none of the above in communicating their decision. The correspondence was a template letter thanking us for the work on our tender document. At no point was there any acknowledgement, let alone appreciation, for the contribution the school and club have made to the national Academy structure.

The subsequent outpouring of support from our alumni and the basketball community (including written support to Basketball England from nearly every Basketball Academy in our division) has renewed our spirits in the face of an unjust situation. This group comprises the young men we have been lucky enough to support on their journey and the basketball people across the country making a difference – our sincere gratitude to each and every one of you.

As we adjust to this new reality, we are now more determined to build upon our years of success. Despite this decision, we are not going anywhere. We, as a club, and The Canterbury Academy, as a school, will always be passionate about doing what is right for young people. We will continue to provide the high-quality experience, synonymous with our programme, for our players. We will continue to invest in developing coaches to help them fulfil their ambitions. We will continue to take our Academy players on international trips to help them gain valuable experience and understanding in the wider basketball world. We will continue to develop outstanding young men and women who will positively impact others throughout their lives. We will continue to be a programme that we believe in, are passionate about and makes a difference.

Thank You.

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