Monday, September 02, 2013

Fair Play: Why the two-year residency rule must go

(This column appears on the Sept 2. edition of Sun.Star Cebu)

I’M not a fan of folks going to court to settle a dispute in sports but this time, I make an exception. I laud the move of Vic Bartolome, who sued the UAAP and UST on behalf of his daughter Anna Dominique, a swimmer.

If you think the Cesafi two-year residency rule boggles the mind, the UAAP’s version is even more idiotic.

Anyone who has lined up for his or her college enrollment knows that a fresh graduate taking up college--no matter which high school they graduated from--is considered a new student and doesn’t have to line up with the transferees. For the UAAP, anyone who studies college other than the school where they finished high school is a transferee and must comply with the two-year residency rule.

Anna Dominique finished her high school in UST and is now a freshman at UP Diliman. Because she left UST, like Cebuano Jerrie Pingoy, who left FEU for Ateneo, she is considered a transferee and must comply with the two-year residency rule.

Her case was raised by Rick Olivares, who was invited to a Senate hearing by Sen. Pia Cayetano on the case of Pingoy, whose misfortune at the hands of the guardians of the UAAP raised awareness on the idiotic residency rule.

Now, Vic has filed for a TRO against UST and the UAAP and the hearing will be today.

And the Bartolomes have the support of Sen. Cayetano, who thinks subjecting incoming freshmen to the two-year residency rule, robs the youth of their “freedom of choice.”

The Cesafi, which instituted the two-year residency rule after the Manila leagues adopted it, should pay attention to this case. Though, I have to point out, that the Cesafi is not as greedy as the UAAP to treat incoming freshmen as transferees, its two-year residency rule is also causing problems for USC high school player Scott Aying, who is a transferee from San Beda but is being punished for leaving Don Bosco for San Beda in 2011.

And Sen. Cayetano has also promised to study the case of Aying.

Like Sen. Cayetano, Rick Olivares and thousands of others, I wish for the abolition the two-year residency rule, which was implemented to discourage player piracy and those who want to transfer schools must sit out two years. That was the intent of the rule but now, it has evolved into an ugly thing that blinds the school owners of their real purpose.

The rule, too, affect students who change schools for reasons other than sports.

For me, a one-year residency is enough but if the leagues are afraid that will lead to rampant piracy, then they can tweak it a bit. It’s a fact, some players jump schools because they know they’d enjoy the same privilege, if not more.

So, require those who change schools to have at least a grade of 1.5 in all of their subjects in order to be eligible, not just a passing grade in 60 percent of their subjects. That way, you discourage the players who jump schools wantonly but don’t punish those who have legitimate reasons.

I think putting in an extra effort in the screening process for the transferees is a whole lot easier than answering a lawsuit in court, or facing Sen. Pia Cayetano in a senate hearing. 

The Cesafi is the acronym of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. and since the members have put too much emphasis on the “Athletic Foundation,” part of their name, let me remind them.

Schools! Schools! Schools!

You know, that institution where students get an education, learn honor, integrity and honesty.






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