UAAP set to scrap residency requisite
MANILA, Philippines — Former juniors star Jerie Pingoy may just see action in this year’s UAAP men’s basketball as the league looks to scrap the contentious two-year residency rule even before the Senate passes the Magna Carta of Student-Athletes.
But the UAAP Board also plans to address the “commercialization” of the country’s premier collegiate league by putting a cap on the benefits offered to student-athletes, particularly basketball players.
“We support the scrapping of the residency rule as long as the excessive benefits are addressed,” said Mark Molina, Far Eastern University’s representative to the UAAP Board. “It’s going to be very unfair if we take up the residency issue without addressing the bigger problem, which is commercialization.”
In a meeting early this week, the Board discussed plans to amend the residency rule, which was crafted following Pingoy’s controversial decision to play for Ateneo in college after a stellar stint with FEU high school.
The rule requires a UAAP high school player who transfers to another member-school for college to sit out for two years, unless he secures a release from his school.
“That’s going to be moot and academic because of what the Senate is trying to do,” said Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s representative to the Board. “We have to remove that rule.”
The issue prompted Sen. Pia Cayetano to file Senate Bill No. 2166 or the Magna Carta of Student Athletes, which includes the protection of a varsity player’s right “to be free from any act of restriction or punishment for choosing to transfer to another school.”
But Cayetano also tackled the “scholarship with benefits” offered to student-athletes during the Bill’s first public hearing Thursday at the Senate.
“The residency rule goes back to that—why is there piracy?” Cayetano asked. “We recognize there are forces beyond the desire of student to just transfer to another school. There are offers of scholarships with benefits.”
UAAP officials said during the hearing there are already proposals to address the league controversies.
“We are committed to review and reform the rules,” said Ronnie Dizer, the University of the Philippines’ board representative.