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    Finally, UAAP sets a limit on 'benefits' offered to top recruits

    Jul 16, 2021

    THE UAAP has finally launched a crackdown on exorbitant recruitment packages offered to top prospects, enforcing a rule that set a limit on the allowable benefits offered to its student-athletes.

    University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics Dean Kiko Diaz shared the news on UAAP Talk on Friday as the league bared its guidelines on the allowed recruitment pitches for all eight member schools.

    "We'll enforce the Maximum Allowable Benefits for our student-athletes this coming Season 84. So basically, nag-set ng guidelines ang UAAP na lahat na mare-receive na benefits ng student-athletes natin ay mayroong ceiling," he said.

    "This, of course, is done so that hindi tayo basta-basta mag-entice lamang ng kahit na sinong students para lang makapasok sa universities natin," Diaz added.

    "And more importantly, it was hinged on the rationale na we want our student-athletes to enroll in the eight member universities of the UAAP because of either their sports development program, kung saan sila malakas na event, or dahil sa academic programs nila."

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    Landmark rule

    The landmark rule is the league's first real attempt to address what has long been a pestering issue in the collegiate recruitment game, with the teams with deeper pockets getting the inside track on blue-chip recruits.

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    UAAP officials said the move was in response to President Duterte signing Republic Act No. 11180, known as the Athletic Programs Report Act, into law onJan. 3, 2019.

    The law, originally House Bill No. 5152 authored by Taguig-Pateros First District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, requires higher education institutions to report participation and program support expenditures in all college athletic programs.

    For the UAAP's part, it's a move geared towards levelling the recruitment playing field among eight member-schools which, in turn, they hope will lead to a more competitive setting among the sports disciplines.

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      "These measures are done to level the playing field in terms of recruitment," said Diaz. "Lahat kami may niche in terms of academic programs at kanya-kanya ding sporting events na nagdo-dominate. And by virtue of that, medyo lamang agad yung university na yun sa pag-recruit ng specific players."

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      Diaz said the limits were already set by the league's board of trustees.

      "Simulado na yung guidelines na yan, ano ang pwede sa bawat athletes, ano yung pwedeng ibigay ng member universities para sa student-athletes nila, were already approved by the Board of Trustees (BOT) kaya ipapatupad na."

      Nonetheless, the UAAP knows that assuring that no member school and its backers cross the line will be a hard task.

      Policing is the 'real challenge'

      "As we know, policing is another matter and there's a challenge. But you cannot try to move towards change thinking about the negatives. We do know that there will be challenges," said UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag.

      "Mabuti na lang na nataon na merong bagong hinahain ang Commission on Higher Education (CHED) na Athletic Programs Report Act. Doon pa lang, may sina-submit na these reports to CHED twice a year. Swak na swak siya. By these reports, meron na kaming black and white that these schools will sign off and we can actually look into."

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      The important thing, Saguisag said, is that the league has taken its first tangible step to address a long-pestering issue.

      "Challenges aside, ang importante dito, the UAAP is taking a stand, na pinapakita natin na ito ang direksyon namin and putting everyone on notice, not just the schools as well as probably the supporters nila para alam nila.

      "We believe that we're ready for the challenge and this is really a step in the right direction and we have the CHED to help us with that part."

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      It is for this same reason that he seeks to have continued discussions from all eight UAAP member-schools and the CHED to better enforce this new ruling.

      "Ang UAAP naman, hindi kami parating cast in stone. A part of that maximum benefits rule is reportorial lang. For example, to be specific, yung mga travel, may gray area sa training.

      "Hindi pa namin nase-set masyado, pero importante is we have built that channel. Mag-usap tayo, bare me yung cards ninyo, and then, after a year or two or maybe three years, then we can probably revisit and fine-tune our rules," he said.

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