NCAA boldly declares Season 96 on with four online events
Charting a course no other collegiate league has dared to pursue and despite the spiking number of COVID-19 cases of late, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will push through with its 96th Season by playing four sports starting May, albeit online.
League management committee chair Vic Calvo of host Letran said that the oldest collegiate league in the country is initially looking at holding online tournaments in taekwondo, chess, women’s volleyball and men’s basketball, with the last two events being skills-based.
Calvo said the management committee has already sought the guidance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on how they would go about the competitions since playing face-to-face among student-athletes is still prohibited.
“We need an audience with the CHEd so we can agree on how far we can do this,” said Calvo during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
“We will go online if we are not allowed. We just have to be resilient and creative. We have to show the entire nation that we can do this for the sake of our athletes,” he added.
With television partner GMA 7, the NCAA is planning to start the season by holding poomsae events in taekwondo with the help of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, which staged, and participated in, several digital competitions last year.
Chess, which is currently being played professionally online, will be scheduled next before the 10 member schools participate in women’s volleyball and men’s basketball later on.
Calvo made it clear that semibubble scrimmages for women’s volleyball and men’s basketball are not feasible at the moment after the league thoroughly studied its cost and potential risks on student-athletes.
It would also require the nod of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to get done.
“Our primary concern is the safety of the athletes. We’ve done our analysis, a bubble-type tournament is risky and costly so we will not push through with it at the moment,” said Calvo during the weekly forum supported by Smart/PLDT, Go For Gold, Hotel Amelie, Braska, Pagcor and San Miguel Corp.
He explained that the league would play it by ear and hold tournaments for only college student-athletes depending on the guidelines set by the CHEd and the IATF.
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