Bill to cap incentives for varsity athletes
MANILA, Philippines–A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to limit school residency requirements and cap incentive packages that “commercialize” student athletics amid the surging popularity of college sports, such as basketball and volleyball.
Deputy Speaker and Antipolo Rep. Roberto V. Puno has filed House Bill 4581, or “The Student Athlete’s Protection Act of 2014,” which would ban the imposition of residency requirements of more than one year on athletes who transfer schools. At the same time, it bars schools from offering excessive incentives and perks to poach players from other schools.
Puno said prevailing practices commercialize college sports and could lead to the exploitation of student athletes.
“Student-athletes are precisely that, students first, athletes second. Too often, the fierceness of sports competition drives schools, parents, alumni and sometimes the students themselves to forget the primacy of education and prioritize winning instead. The time has come for us to protect the student-athlete,” said Puno in his explanatory note.
Puno said his bill would ensure that a varsity player would get “quality education” by giving him or her the freedom to choose their schools.
The bill specifically bars schools from imposing residency requirements on high school athletes who transfer to another school, “without prejudice to the respective rules of athletic associations on foreign imports.”
For those transferring from one university or college to another, Puno’s bill would limit the residency requirement imposed by athletic associations to one year.
Last year, college sports was rocked by controversy over the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) board’s decision to require high school athletes to serve two years of residency should they decide to enroll in and play for a different collegiate team in its tournament.
The bill also mandated the UAAP and other school sports organizations and state agencies (Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the Philippine Sports Commission) to investigate or impose appropriate penalties on schools that offer “commercial considerations” in order to poach potent players from other schools.
Schools should not offer a student-athlete or his or her immediate family member benefits or incentives that are contrary to the nature of amateur sports and which may result in the commercialization of a student-athlete,” the bill said.
Schools are only allowed to provide their varsity players with free tuition and books, board and lodging, a “reasonable” living allowance (to be determined by the school’s athletic program director and standardized with the university or college league), and “other reasonable and similar benefits that would enhance the student-athletes academic and athletic performance.”
The bill encourages student-athletes, their parents or guardians, other students and alumni, and athletic associations to file written complaints on any violation to these rules.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.