HB 5115 nullifies UAAP two-year residency rule

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Congress has scrapped the two-year residency requirement for student-athletes who seek to transfer to another university and prohibited the schools from imposing liabilities on student-athletes who transferred to another school while a tournament season is ongoing.

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This developed after the House of Representatives approved House Bill 5115 or Students’ Protection Act that regulates the residency requirement of student-athletes.

House Bill 5115 states that residency won’t be required on student-athlete who is a high school graduate who will be enrolling in another college of university.

This is in stark contrast with the existing rule in the Universities Athletic Association in the Philippines (UAAP) wherein a high school graduate student-athlete would have to spend two years in the university that he or she wishes to transfer first before being eligible to play in the UAAP—unless the student-athlete secures clearance from the school where he or she graduated.

The existing restrictive UAAP rule on residency has prevented Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles to recruit former UAAP Juniors MVP Jerie Pingoy in 2013 because Pingoy’s high school alma mater, Far Eastern University, refused to grant him clearance papers. The Eagles failed to enter the Final Four in 2013 and missed the UAAP Finals in 2014.

Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas quickly issued clearance to its volleyball star Alyssa Valdez to transfer to Ateneo in 2011. Because there was no restriction, Valdes was able to immediately play for the Lady Eagles in 2011.

Valdez remains the best player of Lady Eagles and the league and has won the UAAP MVP and UAAP Finals MVP plums in 2013.

The approved Students Protection Act would provide relief for players recruited like Pingoy since the measure bans Athletic Associations such as the UAAP from preventing athletes from transferring schools/teams by filing administrative charge for possible violation of schools rules and regulations and requiring the refund of tuition and other miscellaneous fees covered by the scholarship granted, including monies given and the cash equivalent of non-monetary benefits received.

Likewise, the Athletic Associations cannot refuse to issue or delay the release of grades and school records, clearance or transfer eligibility, give incomplete grades in which the student-athlete is exempted by virtue of being a student-athlete and impose other forms of punishment for the student-athlete’s decision to switch school/team.

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