THE UAAP is seeking recognition from the International University Sports Federation (Fisu) in order to compete in the next World University Games.
Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s representative to the UAAP board, personally met with Fisu officials during its general assembly meeting at the sideliens of the recently-concluded World University Games in Kazan, Russia to submit documents pertinent to its recognition.
Palou said among the documents they submitted were recognition letters from both the Philippine Olympic Committee and Commission on Higher Education.
“They were saying that they might come to the Philippines to investigate, which for us is a welcome opportunity to show what the UAAP is all about,” Palou said.
The UAAP has been sending athletes to the Asean and Asian University Games for the past years but not in the bigger Universiade, which is held every two years.
The Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (Fessap), spearheaded by a group led by Basketball Association of the Philippines secretary general Graham Lim, has been sending athletes to the Universiade since gaining recognition in 2009.
BAP was the former national association for basketball in the country until it lost Fiba recognition, leading to the formation of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco had said that they have not given Fessap the authority to send athletes to the Universiade and even accused Fessap of "human smuggling."
Palou said that he still could not understand why Fessap has been sending athletes since 2009 to the Universiade even though the UAAP has been fielding a team for 40 years.
“We didn’t know (how Fessap was recognized) because from 1967 to 2007, the POC had asked UAAP to participate in the Universiade, which we did. Then, in 2009, a new group entered the picture. We didn’t know what documents they had but it was accepted,” said Palou.
Athletes from UAAP schools were supposed to join the delegation in this year’s Universiade, but the league ordered their withdrawal at the last minute under the threat of suspension.