THE NCAA has launched an inquiry into comments made by Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan over certain "demands" made by the Pirates' foreign players, which raised a red flag over the compensation these student athletes receive from league teams.
In a June 30 interview with Spin.ph, Tan admitted that team management decided to drop Cameroonian players Aziz Mbomiko and Guy Mbida from the Pirates' roster at the last minute after the team and the foreigners failed to find a middle ground on "certain principles."
Asked to expound on the principles disagreed upon, Tan cited certain “demands” that taller, touted foreign recruits usually get that Mbida and Mbomiko are trying to negotiate with Lyceum.
Although the issue has since been ironed out, with the rookie Mbida making his debut in the Pirates’ 74-70 win over Letran last Friday, the league’s management committee has continued an inquiry into the matter, asking Tan to explain his comments.
ManCom chair Paul Supan said Tan's comments have raised concerns.
“Vinerify lang yung mga statements kasi una pang lumabas (sa media) bago kami na-inform, so hindi namin alam yung status ng players,” Supan told Spin.ph. “We just asked if the statements there are true.”
Lyceum and Tan have since submitted a letter to explain the school's side, but Supan said the league has yet to discuss the reply of the Intramuros-based school, which is in its final probationary year and is looking to become a regular league member next season.
The Jose Rizal University ManCom representative admitted that the Pirates coach’s comments somehow left an “effect” on the league.
“In a way, yes, (naapektuhan). Hindi naman namin i-ve-verify (yung statements) kung walang effect sa NC.”
Being an amateur/collegiate league, the NCAA forbids the practice of compensating players in exchange for their services. Schools are allowed to offer full scholarships, accommodation, and allowances but nothing more.
Mbida’s comeback suggests that Lyceum has stayed firm on its stand not to give in to whatever demands the foreign players had. The Cameroonian’s removal has since been downgraded to a suspension, which the 17-year-old forward served last week.
“He apologized already,” Pirates team manager Andro Lopez said after the game against the Knights. “Lyceum doesn’t tolerate those things, mga ganun klaseng behavior.”
Lopez stressed there were no negotiations over "demands" that led to the return, saying Mbida is receiving the same privileges as his Filipino counterparts.
“Whatever we’re giving the local players, it’s the same for him,” he said. “Patas lahat.”
However, Mbida, who impressed in his debut with a double-double of 15 points and 12 boards, refused to grant Spin.ph an interview.
Mbomiko, who was also in attendance and wore street clothes on Friday, admitted he is close to reaching a agreement with the school for his own return.