MANILA, Philippines – Senator Pia Cayetano on Monday asked the UAAP Board to reconsider a controversial rule that requires UAAP high school athletes to sit out for two years if they want to transfer to a different UAAP school for college.
During a Senate hearing attended by representatives of different UAAP schools, as well as parents of some UAAP athletes, Cayetano called on the UAAP Board to revisit the new rule, which has generated protests from both athletes and fans.
"I appeal to the UAAP Board to resolve this issue," Cayetano said in an interview on ANC. "The only statement made by the UAAP Board was that the intention of the rule was to protect the institution and that they were looking into the development of the athletes from high school to college."
"But if you look at the overwhelming concerns and evidence presented by experts... it seems quite clear to me that the rights of the child should be paramount. In the case of this two-year rule, the priority is the institution and not the child," she added.
The new rule will force a high school athlete from a UAAP school to undergo a two-year residency period should he/she transfer to a different UAAP school for college. It has drawn flak from current and former athletes, many of whom pointed out loopholes in the new rule.
Cayetano said that sitting out two years in residency was a waste of the player's peak and interfered with his development as an athlete.
Moreover, she said the rule was a reaction to the impending transfer of UAAP juniors MVP Jerie Pingoy from the Far Eastern University (FEU) to the Ateneo de Manila University.
"It appears to have been a repercussion of Pingoy transferring from FEU to Ateneo, and now, we have a situation where all the athletes are going to be affected," Cayetano said.
Another issue raised was the problem of athletes' allowances, with Adamson's Fr. Maximo Rendon saying some of their high school athletes were recruited by other UAAP schools that offered bigger allowances or scholarships.
"If the issue is allowance and benefits, then ‘yan ang puntiryahin nila sa rules nila," Cayetano said, noting that a two-year residency rule will not solve the problem.
Following the hearing, the UAAP Board announced that they will hold a meeting on April 17, where they will discuss possible amendments to the contentious residency rule.