Congress voids UAAP’s two-year residency rule

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Congress has outlawed the two-year residency requirement for high school student-athletes enrolling to another university and banned schools from imposing liabilities on student-athletes who switch schools.

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This developed after the House of Representatives ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee report on House Bill 5115 and Senate Bill 2226 or Student-Athletes Protection Act which regulates the residency requirement of student-athletes.

If President Benigno Aquino 3rd signs this measure into law, residency won’t be required on a student-athlete who is a high school graduate but opted to enrol in another college or university—an ultimate relaxation of the existing Universities Athletic Association in the Philippines (UAAP) rule wherein a student-athlete who finished secondary education and played for a UAAP member-high school would have to spend two years of residency in the UAAP member-college or university that he or she wishes to transfer before being eligible to play in the UAAP.

A written complaint may be filed by the student-athlete, the parents or guardians, member schools or their alumni, athletic associations, or any person or entity for any violation of this Act.

Erring schools and athletic associations will face P100,000 to P1 million fine depending on the gravity of the offense.

Under existing rules, the two-year virtual ban will only be waived if the concerned student-athlete secures clearance from the school where he or she graduated high school.

The measure defines residency as the obligation of the student-athlete to engage in full-time study for a period of time before being eligible to play in an athletic association such as the UAAP.

A student-athlete can play in the UAAP and the National Collegiate Athletic Association for a maximum of five years, excluding the two-year residency requirement.

Pingoy ban
The existing restrictive UAAP rule on two-year residency has prevented Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles to enlist two-time UAAP Juniors Men’s Basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jerie Pingoy in their lineup in 2013.

This is because Pingoy’s high school alma mater, Far Eastern University, refused to grant him clearance papers. Without Pingoy, the Eagles failed to make the Final Four in 2013 and got booted out by eventual champions NU in the UAAP Final Four in 2014 despite securing the No. 1 seed.

On the flipside, Ateneo also managed to gain from such restrictive rule in the case of University of Santo Tomas High School volleyball legend Alyssa Valdez.

Valdez, the 2009 UAAP Athlete of the Year and two-time UAAP Juniors MVP who piloted UST High School to three straight UAAP Juniors championships, took her superb talents to Katipunan in 2010. At that time, the residency requirement was only pegged at one year.

Since Valdez only became eligible to play for the Lady Eagles in 2011, Valdez still has one more year left to play for Ateneo and win the third straight UAAP title for the Katipunan-based squad.

Since Valdez suited up Ateneo in 2011, the Lady Eagles never missed the UAAP Finals and even won the last two UAAP titles vs. La Salle. Valdez is also the reigning and back-to-back UAAP MVP.

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