THE University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) must come up with reforms that would protect student-athletes from abuse and commercialization soon or Congress will be forced to enact a law that the association will be obliged to follow.
Senator Pia Cayetano, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, particularly cited the two-year residency policy currently being imposed by the UAAP. The said policy requires student-athletes, transferring to a UAAP member university, to complete the mandatory residency first before they are allowed to compete as a member of their school’s team.
Cayetano said that although she understands the rationale behind the policy and that is to
discourage student-athlete piracy, she believes the rule is bad because it prevents the players from competing and excelling in the sport they have chosen.
She said it should not be the students that should be punished because it is their right to choose the university they like.
Cayetano said that the UAAP should come up with regulations that would level the playing field making sure that not all good athletes are in one university.
“They [universities]should have their own sanction within their associations which means that they can sanction any erring member university,” Cayetano said.
Another thing that Cayetano criticized is the practice of some schools luring student-athletes to transfer to them by offering excessive perks.
“They are violating ethical standards, you don’t need a law to tell you that you should be competing on a level playing field in recruitment,” she added.
She however made it clear that she has nothing against people earning money from sports, explaining that the field also has commercial and economic aspects.
“What we’re asking the universities and colleges to do is do your job. Self-regulate, come up with your own regulations. But if they will not do that then I will pass the law,” Cayetano said.
The senator was referring to Senate Bill 2166 or the Magna Carta for Student Athletes that seeks to protect athletes from unfair practices.
Cayetano said she would give the UAAP two weeks to propose reforms.