THE Senate begins on Monday its inquiry into a controversial UAAP rule requiring high school athletes transferring to a different UAAP college to sit out for two years before gaining eligibility.
The Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations chaired by Senator Pia S. Cayetano will begin the public hearing that will tackle the league’s new residency rule and its effects on the youth with top league officials as well as athletes expected to be in attendance.
The senator had earlier questioned the wisdom of the league’s new residency rule, which has elicited protests from UAAP athletes and fans.
“The two-year residency rule curtails the freedom of young student athletes to choose the college which he or she wants to study in and play for,” said Cayetano, who played for the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons volleyball team in the UAAP during her college days.
“It denies them of their rights to develop their full potential and goes against the Constitutional mandate to promote sports, especially among our youth,” she added.
Among those invited to appear in Monday’s hearing are UAAP Board of Trustees president Jose Nilo Ocampo and secretary-treasurer Edmundo Baculi. Both are from National University which hosted Season 75 of the country's premier college league.
The committee also invited league officials from UAAP member schools Adamson, Ateneo, De La Salle, Far Eastern University, University of the East, University of Sto. Tomas and UP.
UAAP seniors basketball star Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo, high school basketball standout Jerie Marlon Pingoy, and volleyball players Gretchen Ho and Alyssa Valdez, were likewise invited. Ravena, Ho and Valdez were among those who had spoken out against the league’s new residency rule.
Cayetano noted that in the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires a one-year residency rest for transferring college athletes, but the rule does not apply the same rule to high school students who choose to go to a different college.
“The NCAA’s one-year residency is meant to help the athlete acclimatize to the new school and adjust academics-wise. So what is the UAAP’s two-year rule for?” she asked.
“A student-athlete’s choice of university is influenced not only by athletics, but also by academics, campus life, and personal situation. The two-year residency encumbers this freedom of choice,” Cayetano added.