Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fair Play: What the UAAP, NCAA can learn from Cesafi

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Aug. 22 edition)
THE residency rule in school leagues is one rule that I really disagree with and wish that would be abolished. What’s worse is that the school leagues seem to copy each other’s moves and here in Cebu, the Cesafi is no exception, having extended the one-year waiting period to two when the Manila leagues extended theirs.

Now, the UAAP is in the news again, for all the wrong reasons and this time, the Cesafi is spared because this is a case where the Cebu-league has done it right and the Manila leagues should follow its example.

I’m talking about the case of Hubert Cani, who has been made to wait for two years to comply with residency because when he graduated from the National University high school level, he enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila University for college.

Stupid doesn’t even begin to describe that rule requiring high school graduates to undergo residency should they change schools when they go to college.

Why? Tell me of any first year student who enrolls in high school and already has an idea what to take and where to study in college. Any takers? Anyone from the UAAP board?

Nobody. High school students only begin to think of college in their third year and only start to consider the schools and courses in their fourth year. The same holds true for athletes, why limit their choices to one?

Whoever came up with this move deserves to have only one route—preferrably one with Valentine’s day, pay-day and sale-day level traffic—to and from work for the rest of his working life. So he can ponder on the beauty of giving student athletes one choice for college only.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, who has been fighting for student athletes’ right, slammed the move.

“The UAAP Board has once more displayed its arrogance and immaturity by invoking its unjust two-year residency rule against a high school student athlete who has transferred to a different school in college,” she said in her statement.

Manila, take it from Cebu. High school graduates are free to choose their colleges, even if their high schools invested hundreds of thousands of pesos in training for them. They’re graduates, they’re free from obligations.

Yes, Cesafi, unfortunately, still has that two-year residency rule in college, but at least, in this case, they can teach Manila what the right move is.

BENOIT MBALA. Poor Ben Mbala, after waiting for two years to suit up for DLSU, he has been forced to wait another year again for violating some obscure league rule. Before DLSU, he played two years for SWU, before he was snagged by DLSU in January 2013—and one rival camp told me that it was to the tune of P15 million.

Now, he has to wait one more year and that’s three of his five years in college spent waiting. And that makes you wonder, how many subjects are left for him to take if he spends even just two years playing for DLSU so the Green Archers can recoup their investment on him?

They call the UAAP an amateur league but people in the know know that bigger money is involved in acquiring marquee players.

That would have been one of the practices Sen. Pia Cayetano’s Student-Athletes Protection Act would have eradicated, but unfortunately, PNoy hasn’t signed the bill yet. Damn PGMA, I wish she’d hurry up and start working so PNoy will sign the darn bill.

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