Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fighting over the post-season cake

WHEN I learned Visayas Amateur Athletic Association (VAAA) founder Councilor Yayoy Alcoseba said that Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy's pressure on the school owners was the reason behind the 6-1 vote on Cesafi schools not joining the VAAA, my first thought was LFS, Anakbayan and NUSP members should forget the rallies and boycotts.

If they want to change school policies, they only have to contact Tiukinhoy.  It seems he is that powerful among Cebu schools.  If he can make six school owners vote his way, telling schools to lower their tuition or miscellaneous fees should be a walk in the park for him.

Alcoseba has every right to be pissed.  With the ban, his pet project, the VAAA, just lost its biggest draw.  But then again, in the flip side of the coin, the Cesafi also has all the rights to be pissed.  How can the organization put up another tournament if its members are flirting with another league?

The Cesafi, after its regular season, wants another tournament to sustain the interest, while the VAAA also wants to ride on that interest and wants Cesafi teams to join its event.  Since the Cesafi is forced to protect its "cake," VAAA is crying foul, "Hey we want a piece too!''

Curiously, or sadly, all this brouhaha wouldn't have happened had Cesafi functioned the way other ordinary school-based leagues function, they hold one tournament a year and they're done.

But because Cesafi went a step further, and decided to hold a post-season tournament for basketball, and wants to protect that tournament, the commissioner gets accused of being divisive and against the growth of basketball and—here's my favorite—the school owners are depicted as cowards who dance to the tune of a mere commish.

Unless it includes a date with Maria Sharapova, a million pesos won't make me trade places with Tiukinhoy right now.  As a commissioner, he's supposed to protect the Cesafi, and not to be the Knight in Shining Armor for Cebu basketball, which isn't exactly a damsel in distress.  But any step he takes for Cesafi is perceived as "against Cebu basketball."

Here's a crazy suggestion for an end of all this brouhaha.  Since Cesafi is for Cebu (or at least the Cebu schools associated with it) and the VAAA is "a developmental league" for the Visayas, let the two groups respect each other's "family."

Let the Cesafi take care and develop programs for its own members, and let VAAA take care of the rest of the Visayas, you can throw in the other Cebu-based schools who are not members of Cesafi. If the Cesafi doesn't have any second semester program for its members, then that's the time for VAAA to be the Knight in Shining Armor.

Otherwise, to each his own.

Oh well, that's just a thought. Let's leave basketball to its own mess shall we?

Aside from that 6-1 vote, sources say the Cesafi board also approved a plan to hold a post-season tournament for football ala Partners Cup.

The plan for a post-season football tournament, I was told, was because Cesafi was elated with how the collegiate event was ran and how it got publicity, which is quite a victory considering how the Cesafi season coincides with the Aboitiz Football Cup.

Judging from the interaction in the, the website for Cesafi football, fans are closely following the action, while the players are happy that aside from the traditional media, Cesafi football has cemented a presence in the internet.

I hope, this time around, the Cesafi will provide beta carotene for the officials, I hear it does wonder for one's eyesight.


ronaldo said...

If another football tournament will be organized by CESAFI, I hope it will not purposely be in conflict with the Aboitiz Partner's Cup.

If both tournaments run one after the other, then the schools will undoubtedly feel nga sulit ang ilang expenses for the football teams. Yes, the internet does work wonders for public awarness of a school's programs. Google USJR-Kicking Jaguars and you will also see listed in the search list the school's different courses offered.

What I'd like to propose for either the Aboitiz Partner's Cup or the CESAFI post-tournament is a format that allows 3-4 alumni players that will be allowed to play for the school as imports or reinforcements. Provided that these alumni are degree holders who got their degrees from the school. This may be insignificant to some, but for me, it represents academic success for these players despite the pressure of being athletic scholars. Call this a PR thingy, sort of a Reinforced CESAFI Cup. The presence of such players will show that these schools also shows concern over the future of it's players.

Of course, it may be necessary to spice up the format. Different tournaments - different setups. Having the same set of players may lessen the interest of the fans.

As for PaBol's manangement of the CESAFI tournament, I agree it is more than above-average. Maximo has found his niche in cebufootball. He does well when it is a manageable tournament, one wherein he simply implements policies. I particularly approve with the effort to present match statistics. I just hope that these statistics are accurate and factual. The complaints from coaches regarding schedules and conflicts with exams can be traced to the decions of the board and the commissioner - not to the tournament director.

ronaldo said...

Got my labels wrong. So it's the CESAFI "Partners Cup" and the Aboitiz Tournament for the schools has a different name.

Anyway, a CESAFI football team with a corporate "partner" is a proven concept, since it is patterened after the basketball "Partners Cup" tournament. It would mean more games and more exposure for the players. But for the fans who wants a little twist in every tournament, having a specific number of reinforcements (again similar to the basketball reinforcement concept) would be great.

Tapping alumni who finished with degrees to play for the school is my idea of a "twist". But why not just a plain alumni ? Why does he have to have a degree ?

I want it so because it hammers in the point that athletic scholarships are meant to benifit both the school and the player. We know so many players who failed to get a degree even after consuming their 5 years of eligibility. Why ? Because some coaches and athletic directors turn a blind eye on the player's academic performance. What only matters to some is that he can play.

It is common knowledge that some coaches/directors facilitates a "passing" grade for student athletes even if the athlete doesn't come in for classes (heck, even if the athlete is working in a junkyard in the land of the rising sun, he can even be currently enrolled). And how about that secondary school who purposely fail students so that they can still play in the City Olympics. Ever wondered why we have football players, who, at 17 are still in 2nd year high school ? And it is their 3rd time back in that level ? Heck, a few years back, they even have a player playing at the City Olympics while his month old child watched at the grandstand with the 15 yr.old mom. And the player was still at 2nd year high school. What kind of future is that ?

The success of a school's athletic program should not depend entirely on the number of championships and/or gold medals it wins, but in large part, should also be dependent on the number of student athletes who went on and got their degrees. I have seen too many players who went thru 3-4 courses and still has not graduated from any of these courses. What did these players expect ? That they can continue playing on forever in the college competitions ? And where are the concience' of the coaches/directors who are supposed to look after these students ? Is a championship more important than a student athlete's future ?

I'm rambling, I know. I'm also terribly frustrated on the way some people view athletic scholars, how some coaches/directors take advantage of some players, and how some players fail to take advantage of their scholarships.

Again, it may be insignificant to many. But having successful alumni coming back to play for their schools will send a message to many - that college sports is supposed to be benificial to both athlete and school.

ronaldo said...

Concerning the "difference in opinion" between Alcoseba and Tiukinhoy, one has to understand the different policies from which they came from.

Tiukinhoy is about varsities, in principle, a studies first-play later concept. It may not always be perfect, considering the large number of players finishing their eligibility getting a college degree. It is about what benifit's the school first and the athlete second. The player plays for the glory of the school, thus the tournaments the school is committed to should be first and foremost. An injury to any key player that prevents him from contributing for the glory of the school is what Tiukinhoy does not want.

Alcoseba is about the athelete and the game. He is about commercial basketball, about bringing bigger options and horizons for the player and the team. He is about the player's future after college, and not about the college.

Both the Partner's Cup and the VAAA will mean more games and more media exposure for the schools. But the VAAA opens more doors for the player because it exposes him to a stiffer competition due to the presence of commercial teams. It also exposes him to a greater chance of an injury, something the schools (and therefore Tuikinhoy) are not very willing to risk. Tiukinhoy wants a purely collegiate tournament, where the interests of the schools comes first. These are the roots of their conflict.

I remember when Alcoseba formed the Cebu Doctors Stallions in the defunct CAAA a few years back, after a successful stint at USJR. At USJR, he had to follow certain school regulations regarding recruitment policies and scholarship offers. Thus, there were no instant superstars or first year phenoms at USJR, but players who got well rounded after 1-2 years under him. Who can forget Ampalayo, Lastimosa, and the rest during the early to mid-eighties.

With the Stallions, he went on a recruiting binge, getting established collegiate stars that instantly made the Stallions a powerhouse. I feel that it was during this time, and with that opportunity, that the usual collegiate practice of recruitment became outdated for him. It was also around that time when we experienced a boom in commercial amatuer basketball all over the country, with the success of first Mama's Love and then his very own M.Lhullier (with Jojo Lastimosa, Samboy Lim, etc.).

I think they would just reschedule their respective tournaments. More precisely, Alcoseba should reschedule his, because when the CESAFI board says no, then that is a no. Any insults coming from Alcoseba's camp will only widen the gap between him and CESAFI.

ronaldo said...

But first things first. Let there be an actual football Partners Cup. I hope all these plans coming from Tuikinhoy and Maximo are not just talk or hot air. There is a big gap between a hyped up "plan" and actually getting it done.

michaelm said...

Ronaldo said "But the VAAA opens more doors for the player because it exposes him to a stiffer competition due to the presence of commercial teams"

What? Are there commercial teams in VAAA? I thought the teams joining are collegiate schools from Visayas?

What? Commericial teams already? Hello?

kikster said...

who is tiukinhoy??

Mike Limpag said...

Tiukinhoy is the Cesafi commissioner. The Partners Cup is tentatively scheduled in January, I have no idea when the Aboitiz Universities league will be, but I do remember, Aboitiz was supposed to start one after the Cesafi regular season...

Tentative plan for the Partners CUp is double-round robin with the top two teams playing a two-leg finals, and aggregate will be used to determine winner..

ronaldo said...

The VAAA will also allow collegiate players playing in commercial leagues to play. The other private school leagues in the region doesn't have the same rules as the CESAFI. Some schools even compete in commercial leagues/tournaments and some leagues even allow a limited number of non-students to be part of their lineup in commercial tournaments. That's what I meant by our teams going up against commercial teams. It would be good information sharing if VAAA publishes it's rules and format so those who may oppose it's concept can be further enlightened. The CESAFI rules is probably the most stringent in the whole country, that's why some coaches accustomed to the commercial leagues wants it to be relaxed.

From what I've heard, CebuFA hasn't really gotten past the conceptual stage of the Universities Cup yet. They are having their hands full with the simultaneous holding of the different categories in different venues. But their biggest headache right now is the officiating, which has been way below-acceptable.