Fair Play: Was tampering an attempt to sabotage SWU?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Aug. 1 edition)
AT first, I thought that whoever was behind the bungled attempt to field a 25-year-old as a high school player for Southwestern University was so intellectually-challenged not to see how easily it can be spotted but now, I think he’s one devious individual.

And I don’t think this is even about basketball anymore.

Consider this. A 25-year-old player is fielded in high school. He is from Mindanao and nobody knows him and the screening committee only has his record (tampered at that) and profile. When Cobras first game comes, doubts will surely begin to appear once the fans see the 25-year-old in a high school game. And today’s age, anyone with a lot of time and a social media account can snoop around to confirm if one is really 17 years old or older.

You know of course, what happens when one snoop spots something shady in social medida? They’d start a post that is expected to go viral...something like “SWU has a 25-year-old player in high school!”

Was that the real target of this scheme? To field a team that has nine overaged players, have them get caught after their first game and let the school face the adverse publicity?

Just imagine the backlash the school management would have had that happened.

So, was this all an attempt to embarrass the new school management? Considering how testy the situation in the school is?

That’s something for the management to find out in their investigation. Perhaps the brains behind the tampered scheme is not the brains at all. And the goal is something more.

Fortunately, something good is coming out of this, something that has never been done in Cebu.

SWU wants to start a basketball program in the elementary level that is geared for their college level--a program that connects the three school levels. That is something that has never been done in any sport.

I’ve always told coaches to take advantage of their university setup and have an athletic program from the elementary up to the college level. But they won’t do it and though they never say the reason, their rationale is obvious.

Why bother developing your elementary student for your high school or college teams when other schools might just pirate him after improving a lot?

Well, that’s baloney! That shouldn’t be taken as a negative but as a positive, that your program is doing well. Besides, should that happen and the kid stars in another college team, the fans will know where he learned all his skills.

Coaches in schools should learn to view such program from an educator’s standpoint--you want your students to excel and make their schools proud in their chosen field, not stay in school, right?

That’s what SWU is trying to do now in the aftermath of the Tampered 9 scandal.

“SWU is committed to have a Junior Cobras basketball program and start it as early as the elementary level,” SWU legal counsel Godwin Maguinsay said in a press conference.

In that press conference, SWU also announced it will send home the nine kids from Mindanao since their scholarships have been revoked. Having grown up in Mindanao and studied here, I know the kids and their families who go home a month into the school year will feel the humiliation and shame when their community see them go home early.

Poor kids. Their arrival will be very stark to their departure.


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