UAAP: Change is – should be com­ing!

Manila Times - - WOMEN SPORTS - When age isn’t just a num­ber ANGELINE GERVACIO Free­dom to choose Stand your ground

AST week, I men­tioned how it was un­usual for the UAAP to hold its beach vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment from 3 p.m. on­wards. Dur stretched un­til mid­night, which made me feel bad for the ath­letes who still have to go to class the next day. I felt the de­ci­sion to move the games to late af­ter­noon to avoid play­ing un­der the heat was an­ti­thet­i­cal to the essence of beach vol­ley­ball, a sport that is played on the sand and un­der the sun.

the UAAP made some ques­tion­able rules. A re­cent is­sue that be­sieged the UAAP was the age re­stric­tion rule. It states that the limit is 24 years old and those who will turn 25 dur­ing the sea­son are deemed in­el­i­gi­ble. Right be­fore this year’s men’s bas­ket­ball sea­son started, the UAAP Board de­cided to deny Rob Ri­cafort’s ap­peal as he claimed that he will turn 25 by Jan­uary, when the men’s bas­ket­ball sea­son con­cludes. How­ever, the UP for­ward was able to se­cure a Tem­po­rary Re­strain­ing Or­der (TRO) from the courts, which al­lowed him to suit up for the Dil­i­man squad.

I be­lieve that the board should dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of in­creas­ing the age limit con­sid­er­ing that the adopted K-12 sys­tem will mean older stu­dents en­ter­ing col­lege (un­less we start en­rolling kids in 1st grade by the time they’re re­sult in more play­ing years for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents re­quired to com­plete a year of res­i­dency be­fore play­ing for their school. This leads to an­other con­tro­ver­sial rule, how­ever moot, that the league im­posed. Be­fore Repub­lic Act No. 10676 or the Stu­dent-Ath­letes Pro­tec­tion Act (SAPA) was passed, a stu­dent-ath­lete may un­dergo two years of res­i­dency when they trans­fer from their UAAP sanc­tioned school to a dif­fer­ent one. Re­mem­ber the case of Mi­kee Bar­tolome, a two-time ju­niors MVP who grad­u­ated from UST. She took her ta­lents to UP but she was even­tu­ally year as a Maroon. Like Ri­cafort, she had to go to the courts to ob­tain a TRO for a more fa­vor­able de­ci­sion. The Sea­son 76 swim meet did not hap­pen with­out drama as other ath­letes who were com­pet­ing along­side Bar­tolome opted not to par­tic­i­pate.

This prompted our law­mak­ers to pass the SAPA that states, “Res­i­dency re­quire­ment shall not be im­posed on a stu­dent-ath­lete who is a high school grad­u­ate en­rolling in a col­lege or univer­sity.” This is a bet­ter rule, as the old one ath­letes free­dom to pick op­tions for their ed­u­ca­tion. An­other in­co­her­ent UAAP rule con­cerns with the giv­ing of spe­cial awards. I re­mem­ber dur­ing my last year of play­ing in­door vol­ley­ball, the board de­cided to award two ath­letes with the sea­son’s MVP award. This move stirred a lot of ques­tions es­pe­cially among the fans who be­lieve that the award should be given to the best and the only out­stand­ing ath­lete dur­ing the sea­son. In this case, I felt that the board has to put their foot down when it comes to these in­ter­nal rules and reg­u­la­tions of the league.

I be­lieve the UAAP has the power to change the land­scape of col­le­giate sports in our coun­try and stream­lin­ing their rules will be the be­gin­ning of won­der­ful things to come.

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