TALKS are ongoing for a possible October start to the UAAP basketball tournament in the coming years as major schools adopt to changes to the Philippine academic calendar.
A high-ranking UAAP official who asked not to be named said there have already been initial talks within the league board about shift in schedule, specifically the centerpiece men’s basketball tournament which under the proposed changes could start in October and end in January.
Ateneo, University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, all UAAP members, are set to move the start of their academic years to September from June as part of the “internationalization” of their calendars to syncronize with those of other Asean countries.
The new calendar will have classes starting in September and ending in June.
Although the other league's five member schools have yet to commit to the calendar change, analysts feel such a shift of the season may lead to changes not only to the tournament schedule but also to the UAAP's already controversial eligibility rules.
That aside from the major adjustments that will have to be made by the professional league PBA for incoming rookies, the transition period for other players in the commercial-amateur PBA Developmental League, and even the national federation Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas that handles the age group teams that represent the Philippines in international tournaments.
The official expects the schedule change to happen over the three years since only a few schools have so far committed to the new academic calendar.
“Several other schools are already holding consultations with their community about changing the schedule,” said the official.
The Season 76 men’s basketball tournament was stretched to 15 weeks last season with a drawn-out three-game title series. That means a late September start would end with the title being decided in early January.
The official noted that most of the kinks to be ironed out concerns the rules on eligibility, as well as the repercussions if a few schools don’t adopt with the new academic calendar.
“Hindi uniform kung kailan enrolled ‘yung athlete. ‘Yung iba, September, ’yung iba June,” said the official.
The official also noted the changes that will have to be made as the country adopts the K-12 system by the Department of Education. The K-12 program adds two years to high school, replacing the basic education period in the Philippines from 10 to 12 years.
That could also mean another round of talks regarding the highly-controversial residency for player transferees and foreign reinforcements.