FAR Eastern University athletic director Mark Molina bared the school has almost always granted the release of athletes who expressed the intention to move to a different school, unless there is "clear evidence of piracy."
“We have more than 20 athletes who moved to another school. All of them except two were released because there was evidence of piracy,” said Molina, without mentioning names in answering a query made by Sen. Pia Cayetano during Thursday’s Senate hearing to discuss Magna Carta for Student-Athletes.
While calls for the abolition of residency period among athletes have snowballed, Molina said he is batting for the need to address the ‘bigger problem’ — the commercialization of the collegiate leagues.
Molina said the excessive perks and benefits offered to athletes have led to rampant player poaching in the league, prompting the UAAP to impose the controversial two-year residency rule on transferees.
“The reason why there is a rule (two-year residency) is that we are trying to solve a bigger problem. Let’s solve the bigger problem,” said Molina before a handful of sports reporters after attending Cayetano’s Senate hearing to discuss the Bill.
“There is no need for the bill. But there must be a rule to address the commercialization. If the UAAP makes a provision (about commercialization), we don’t need the bill,” said Molina.
The Magna Carta was filed by Cayetano in response to widespread criticism of the UAAP’s controversial two-year residency period for high school graduates transferring to a different member school.
Under the Magna Carta, all student-athletes will be given several rights while being protected from unethical and unfair practices like abuse and violence, including the imposition of a residency rule on transferring high school graduates.
Incidentally, FEU was one of five schools that voted for the two-year rule to be imposed after its former high school star, Jerie Pingoy, declined to stay with the Tamaraws and made a controversial move to Ateneo.
Molina said the two-year residency rule stemmed from the growing number of incidents of athletes being given perks not covered by the league, most of them coming from the school’s alumni community.
“If it is the school coming in, wala namang problema. If you have an alumni wanting to help, give the money directly to the school. You can’t have an alumni giving money directly to the player,” said Molina, one of only four UAAP officials who attended Cayetano’s Senate hearing.
“That is why we need to regulate,” said Molina.
In curbing commercialization, Molina suggested that all athletes in Season 77 should report every benefit they receive like food and allowance, while having an independent compliance officer that will monitor.
“Everything should be reported, the funds from the school and the alumni. If the player or alumni violated, they should be banned. If the school doesn’t report correctly, the school is in trouble,” said Molina.
With Cayetano is targeting the Magna Carta be enacted into law in June, Molina said the UAAP should also get its act together and do something against commercialization - a move which he believes has the support of majority of the league membership.
“Dapat kayanin. It’s going to be unfair if we take away the residency rule if we don’t address the commercialization of the UAAP," he said. “I’m sure five, malaki ang suporta diyan."