Bill for student-athlete rights advances in Senate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2014 03:54 PM | Updated as of May 21 2014 11:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Student-Athletes Protection Act, which seeks to prohibit residency rules which curtail the rights of the country’s student-athletes and prevent the commercialization of school athletic leagues, has moved closer to being passed in the Senate.

Senator Pia Cayetano on Monday took to the Senate floor to sponsor Senate Bill No. 226 after 14 senators signed Committee Report No. 29 transmitting the measure for plenary discussion.

SBN 226 will prohibit schools and athletic associations from imposing residency requirements on high school student-athletes who wish to transfer to another school for their college education. It will also disallow residency rules affecting high school student-athletes transferring to another high school.

For varsity players moving from one university to another, the bill allows for a maximum residency period of one year.

“Athletes thrive during competition, and to deprive an athlete of this, to bench them for a significant period, could be damaging to their physical development as well as their emotional and mental state,” Cayetano said in a statement.

“It is my simple desire that the student-athletes get what they deserve – the opportunity to study and play in the school of their choice,” she added.

Cayetano said she understands that the residency rules were put in place to discourage the practice of “pirating” outstanding athletes among rival schools. But she stressed that these rules should not inhibit the rights of the student-athletes.

This being the case, the Student-Athletes Protection Act also seeks to regulate the benefits and incentives that schools offer to student-athletes, while also prohibiting other incentives “which are contrary to the nature of amateur sports” and “may result to the commercialization” of student-athletes.

“Pirating outstanding athletes from high school to college has become rampant because of offers of extravagant luxuries. Piracy, when it includes the offer of extravagant luxuries to student-athletes, should be prohibited,” Cayetano said.

The Student-Athletes Protection Act was the result of hearings, consultations and technical group meetings on Cayetano’s SBN 2166, which provides a Magna Carta of Student-Athletes, and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s SBN 1252 which seeks to regulate the conduct of sports agents regarding the signing of contracts with student-athletes.

The senators who signed the committee report are: Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Teofisto Guingona III, Loren Legarda, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Francis Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Aquilino Pimentel III, JV Ejercito, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, and Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.