FEU official cries foul over delayed implementation of revised UAAP rule
A Far Eastern U official on Monday questioned the delayed implementation of an amended UAAP rule that no longer requires foreign students who have earned their college degrees in the Philippines to sit out a year to undergo residency.
FEU athletic director Mark Molina said they were hoping that the amended rule would take effect in UAAP Season 82 just like the rule that allowed Ateneo’s Ange Kouame to play the season after finishing high school in the country.
But Molina said the majority of the UAAP Board Members voted that the rule will only be implemented next season, which meant that FEU’s Nigerian center Emman Ojoula, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Naga University early this year, was declared ineligible to play for the Tamaraws in UAAP Season 82.
“Clearly, there was an oversight last year because only the rule for foreigners who graduated from a high school in the Philippines was changed, but that was corrected by the board early this year,” said Molina.
“Unfortunately for us, that rule change will only take effect next season. We have no choice, but to follow the majority rule.”
Kouame was cleared by the eligibility committee because the amended rule no longer required foreign students who graduated from high school in the Philippines to undergo a redshirt year. Kouame graduated from Multiple Intelligence International School in 2018.
Ojoula was supposed to be fielded by the Tamaraws this year through the “one-and-done” provision, but UAAP Executive director Rebo Saguisag said the one-and-done rule is only applicable to local players.
“I think he was ineligible because he’s a foreign student-athlete,” said Saguisag. “One-and-done is only applicable for locals, for citizens of the Philippines and that is the same rule being applied to some players from La Salle.”
Keyshawn Evans-Meeker, Jamie Orme-Malonzo, and James Laput-Pado – Fil-foreigners are set to debut with the Green Archers this season owing to the one-and-done rule.
But Saguisag said Ojoula’s case is different.
“According to the rules, in the case of Ojoula, he cannot play,” said Saguisag. “But then again, the board realized that we should realign with the high school situation. For as long as the player has attended at least one full academic year and graduated in the Philippines, even if he’s a foreigner, he can play immediately. The direction of the league is to align it in the case of Angelo Kouame. If you’re a foreign student-athlete and you have graduated in the Philippines and have attended one full academic year here there’s no need to undergo residency. But then again, that’s moving forward.”