Guidelines on training of collegiate athletes to be released in 3 weeks

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2020 03:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will form a technical working group that will craft guidelines on how student-athletes will conduct their training.

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Monday allowed the resumption of training of student-athletes in areas under relaxed virus restrictions.

Student-athletes can resume training in general community quarantine, and modified general community quarantine areas, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The working group will be composed of officials of CHED, representatives of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Department of Health (DOH), the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), and representatives of the collegiate leagues.

"These guidelines will be anchored on pertinent provisions of the PSC-GAB-DOH joint administrative order enhanced by existing practices of professional leagues that have started training, particularly what they have done on testing and contact tracing," De Vera said.

"The guidelines will be based also on the guidelines issued by international sports bodies which are already being used by some of our professional leagues, and using practical realities on the ground," he added.

As far as a timeline is concerned, De Vera said they intend to start the working group by next week, and come up with the guidelines in two weeks.

"Pinaka-matagal na ang tatlong linggo," he said.

There are two challenges in crafting the guidelines, said De Vera. The first is that there are multiple collegiate leagues all over the country, and the guidelines need to be cascaded to all of them. The second is that multiple sports are being played in every league, and the guidelines need to address the specific demands of each discipline.

"You have to be a little bit patient with the timeline, because there are two major challenges that we have to face," De Vera said. 

De Vera said that once they show that the guidelines are being followed and that the student-athletes are safe, then they can start discussing when the leagues can begin.

"We have to show that it works, the training of collegiate athletes work, and then the next step is deciding on when the leagues will be done," he said. 

"I think, it's important that we do a good job in showing that the training of collegiate athletes can be done with all the safety protocols in place, with the health of the students protected, and that will be the best argument to ask the IATF to now allow organized leagues to start."

Both the UAAP and the NCAA -- which cancelled their seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- are hoping to hold their tournaments by the first quarter of 2021.