MANILA Philippines — “Fat” signing bonuses are being thrown around and the deep-pocketed universities end up with the blue-chip recruits—a harsh reality check in college basketball recruitment today as far as University of the Philippines head coach Ricky Dandan is concerned.
And for UP, which is familiar with the view from the cellar in the UAAP, it’s just a matter of swallowing that reality.
“We make do of what we have. At least the guys we have genuinely wants to go to UP, and not because they’re being paid to go to UP,” Dandan said in an interview with INQUIRER.net.
These realities have altered college basketball, one way or another — and the amended UAAP residency rule, which caused uproar online and among athletes themselves, is just one of the offshoots.
“Definitely, off shoot lahat ng yan,” he said.
From just serving a year of residency, a high school student who graduated from a UAAP school enrolling to a university of another member now has to sit out two years. And while, according to the UAAP, it protects one school’s juniors program– it limits choices of the players, who are also students first.
“There were reasons for that, for the most part, lahat nangyari because of player poaching. You can’t blame the other schools who are, well, “victims” of being poached payers from,” said Dandan.
“But like the others say, I actually agree that playing for any school is a privilege and a high school kid who graduates has the right to choose which school he wants to go to. But then if there are rules, rules should be followed,” he added.
Dandan said UP doesn’t exactly take a direct hit from the amended residency rule, saying “We don’t actually recruit from the other UAAP schools.”
“Most of those who come to UP are mostly walk-ins. But then, not to mention any school, in UP we actually can’t afford what the others give,” he said.
But he believes there are far bigger concerns in college basketball here — where an alarming amount of signing bonuses and monthly incentives are dangled to the athletes, starts evil.
“I think the root of all the evil here is the signing bonuses, which all the moneyed schools will give to the recruits. That’s probably the realities of recruitment now,” Dandan said.
Stricter rules for recruitment, like in the US-NCAA, would be a good place to start.
“In my mind, I’d like for, specifically the college leagues, stricter rules regarding signing bonuses and fat monthly allowances — or salaries if you will — parang pang-pro na eh yung mga bibinigay sa iba eh,” Dandan added. “Of course, if there will be a rule against it I don’t think it would be a deterrent, but then if there’s a rule that’s better than not having one.”
But with whatever rule the UAAP has right now, “Wala naman ibang pwedeng gawin. Let’s just comply.”
It’s a big question, though, on how the Fighting Maroons – who Dandan says can’t afford to dole out tempting incentives to the recruits — plan on acquiring big-time players and become more competitive again.
“We actually don’t think about that anymore. We just to have move on and make the best [of what we have]. Like we say in UP, we may not have everything but we have enough. Those are the realities,” Dandan added.