Despite controversy and dismay from the public, the UAAP has approved a new residency rule which was passed last April 16 and will be effective beginning UAAP Season 76. It requires high school graduates from UAAP member schools to undergo two years of residency before suiting up for another member of the league in the seniors division.
The controversial ruling first came into the public conscience last month after the UAAP Board voted positively for the new residency rule. The complete details and framework of the two-year residency requirement have yet to be announced.
“The new residency rule hampers the athletes’ freedom to choose the path of their future careers whether sports related or not,” says freshman Rafael Lagdameo (I, ECM-FIN).
Rookie Lady Booter Kim Maligad adds, “It is unfair and senseless because there are players who would want to play for their dream team and because of this rule you hinder them from [fulfilling] their dreams and their full potential.”
The rule was approved after a 5-2 vote, which saw Ateneo and UP vote against the residency requirement, while Season 75 host NU did not participate in the voting process. It was met with mixed reactions among the UAAP community but most, particularly the student-athletes, were against the proposed rule.
Alumnus Carlo Regner (AB-OSDM, 2004) has a different perspective regarding the long run benefits, something similar to what the UAAP Board repeatedly stated. Regner says, “If it benefits the organization then well and good but, I think that it should be done and implemented with a certain time frame as not to make it blatantly look like its favoring certain schools but in essence I believe that it helps schools become more competitive with their current line up.”
Joel Dimayuga (I, BS-IE) also takes the side of the new rule and saw it as a step towards a more fair league. “Schools won’t be able to pirate other players easily and [entice them to] move to their school,” says Dimayuga.
A common running rumor is that the institutions involved will benefit more as compared to the student-athletes. “It’s protecting the school and not the players. Players should have the right to choose where they want to play and study without restrictions,” testifies forward Alyanna Ong of the Lady Archers.
The rule also caught the ire of the Philippine Senate, particularly Senator Pia Cayetano, who made an inquiry last April 1. Cayetano made recommendations regarding the rule, stating that there was no need for residency for high school graduates who opted to study in different institutions.
In an exclusive interview with ANC, Cayetano says, “The only statement made by the UAAP Board was that the intention of the rule was to protect the institution and that they were looking into the development of the athletes from high school to college.”
“The UAAP’s new rule for residency is a hindrance to many high school student athletes’ freedom of choosing their desired combination for a school that will suit both their academic and athletic aspirations. I personally chose DLSU because I thought it would have the best combination [of academics and athletics] for me,” says Green Booter Greggy Yang.
“Though this rule would never have affected me, but I think it was a move of selfishness by legislators to even think of installing it. The brains behind the rule are hogging talent that students should have the freedom to develop however pleasing in their own eyes.”
Robbie Arcadio (II, ECM-BSA) agrees with the critics and put emphasis on the academic programs of the schools over their athletics. He says, “The new rule really limits a student’s choices. This is especially wrong because as much as student athletes choose schools for their athletic programs, the education that the school is known for such as flagship courses and good degree programs, should be among the first factors that are up for consideration in choosing a college.”
With the new rule, a student who may want to study a course in a different UAAP member school may not be able to transfer without the thought of sacrificing his or her athletics career clouding the decision. “The new residency rule takes away choices and will look to breed athlete-students instead of student athletes, which is not what institutions of higher learning should stand for,” concludes Arcadio.