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Final four

NCAA faces possibility of staging mandatory sports only—and that’s not the worst part

/ 05:30 AM May 07, 2020

The NCAA is in danger of playing just four sports in the coming school year, a grim possibility that was suddenly in discussion after an internal document from Letran regarding plans to cut its athletics’ cost and its NCAA participation leaked into the open.

The document, penned by school rector Fr. Clarence Marquez to athletics director Fr. Vic Calvo, detailed the means with which the school would enact its “business continuity and recovery plan” in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that shut down schools and sports leagues in the country.

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Further digging by the Inquirer revealed that several schools and league officials have the same thing in mind, with sources revealing plans of a “scaled-down season” for the coming school year—at least. The scaling down, a source said, could even stretch “further.”

One source added that there is a possibility of playing just four events next season: basketball, volleyball, track and field and swimming. The four disciplines are the mandatory sports a school is required to participate in to become an NCAA member.

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And that’s not even the worst possibility.

League officials, according to the same source, are even open to having just a series of “friendlies” among member schools that can afford to come up with teams.

Schools are among those expected to be heavily hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and maintaining an NCAA contingent costs a minimum of P10 million, according to insiders.

The same source said another concern is the closure of ABS-CBN, the network that has been covering the NCAA for the past several years.

Letran, which will host Season 96 of the NCAA next school year, however assured its current student-athletes that the school hasn’t made any official changes to its NCAA participation. Several facebook posts on Wednesday said that Letran is set on ending several of its programs, counting men’s and women’s volleyball. “We are still at it. We are still the Season 96 host,” Letran director for alumni and public affairs Jhennie Caldito-Villar told the Inquirer. “Especially now we are celebrating our 400th year.”

Caldito-Villar said the leaked memo was “not for immediate implementation” and was subject to NCAA rules and regulations. She added the school can—and will—still maintain the scholarships of 372 student-athletes, the league’s minimum requirement.

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TAGS: coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, NCAA
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