Disputed residency rule ‘gives athletes limited choices’
Senator Pia Cayetano intends to “explore legal options” if the UAAP continues to adopt the controversial new rule that requires high school players transferring to a member school for college to serve a two-year residency.
But UAAP president Nilo Ocampo vowed to review the rule with the league board following the opposition raised by Cayetano, parents of the athletes and several resource persons during a three-hour Senate hearing Monday.
“I don’t want to make it sound as a threat, but I will not hesitate to explore legal options with those who are affected,” said Cayetano, who called for the hearing as chair of the committee on youth, women and family relations.
“This rule is just a repercussion of the situation of a few basketball players. But they came up with a solution that affects all these athletes who have nothing to do with this issue.”
The new residency rule, which is set to be implemented in Season 76 starting this June, was approved by the UAAP board last month in what many believe was a result of the recruitment tug-of-war between Far Eastern University and Ateneo over FEU junior basketball star Jerie Pingoy.
Ocampo said league officials will tackle all the concerns raised in the next UAAP board meeting on April 16.
“We’re not looking at the legal component, we should look at it if it would benefit our athletes or not,” said Ocampo. “We will discuss and debate. We act as a collegial body and we cannot dictate on the other members.”
“You’re giving the athletes limited choices,” Cayetano told league officials. “Do we hold them back because we feel we’ve given them so much [during high school]? If allowances are the issue, then I don’t think the new rule is the solution to that.”
Pingoy’s father Jerry attended the hearing and said the new rule is unfair to his son, a back-to-back UAAP junior MVP.
“The two-year residency isn’t right because my son worked hard on his career,” said Pingoy’s father, adding his son wants to move to Ateneo.
“The issue is basketball, but why do other sports have to suffer?” asked Vic Bartolome, father of junior swimmer Mikee, who wants to transfer from the University of Santo Tomas to the University of the Philippines.