Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fair Play: It's time to change Cesafi football format

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on July 12)
WITH at least 18 players in the squad on scholarship, a Cesafi member school spends at least P540,000 for its football team (At the very modest estimate of P30,000-worth of scholarship per player).

If you include the allowances and equipment for the players, that tidy sum increases a lot. And when you only have a four-game season, that investment seems to be too high a price for a four-game season (six if you make the finals) isn't it?

Unlike Cesafi basketball, there are only five college football teams--University of San Jose-Recoletos, University of the Visayas, University of San Carlos, University of Cebu and the University of southern Philippines.  Cebu Institute of Technology used to field a token team but has since stopped fielding one after yet another blowout campaign.

And unlike Cesafi basketball, which has the Partners Cup, All-Star Game and a 20-game regular season (more if you make the five-game final series), Cesafi football has four games and I think it's about time the league do something about it.

A double-round elimination where the top team automatically makes the finals and the no. 2 and no. 3 fighting for the right to make the championships, which should be a two-game affair, would be worth it.  I'm not a fan of having a semifinals in a five-team setup because it means you only need to win once (twice in a double-round robin) to make the final four.

If the Cesafi does that, the season, of course, will be extended and another move that the league can do to help the sport is to drop that rule banning players from other tournaments while the season is ongoing.  It is a basketball-centric move that doesn't make sense for the college football scene, which in essence only have two tournaments in Cebu.  The other 11-a-side tournament, is the Aboitiz Cup, and it will be giving way to the Cesafi.

And another rule that should be dropped to encourage participation from other schools? The limit on the participation of foreigners.  This rule is baffling for football.  In basketball, two foreigners on the court at the same time may change an outcome but in football? That's not the  always the case, besides, being allowed to have foreign students in their lineup will be a reward for Cesafi member schools like SWU and CDU for establishing strong ties with foreign students.

Cesafi football can improve, but only if it stops being one of the collateral damage in the rival school’s basketball wars (which is where most of the new Cesafi rules come from.)

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