Behind the exciting games, the intensified rivalries, and the drama of the UAAP are the individuals that have invested their time and talent into making what the league is today. No, these aren’t the players or coaches, but rather the silent heroes that make up the UAAP Board. What could be one of the most overlooked jobs in the UAAP is actually one that could be the most crucial.
The LaSallian sat down to ask ten questions from Mr. Edwin Reyes and Mr. Emmanuel Calanog about their knowledge and experiences as La Salle’s UAAP Board members.
- What are your duties and responsibilities as a board member?
Becoming part of the UAAP Board instills a large responsibility that could determine several factors for every season. Calanog distinguishes two of the general duties of a board member, “…the board as a policy-making body comes up with the general rules and regulations or policy directions of the UAAP in terms of Mission-Vision and how it is translated into the general rules. The second duty is operationalizing the policies.” The one-year residency for transferring athletes and the policy on foreign players are only some of the few responsibilities that have to be tackled.
In addition to policy making, the UAAP board is interested as well in the progress of the league for its viewers. “As a league that is constantly trying to improve itself, we may be asked to work or chair ad hoc committees to study new ways of doing things which may or may not be adopted by the league,” Reyes adds.
- What are the different issues that you face?
As a collegiate sports league, problems are more likely to arise especially during the heat of each season. “The controversial issues usually are directly connected with interpretation of rules,” expounds Reyes.
Most of the time, especially in the field of sports, issues usually come alongside various developments. One of them would be whether to implement the two-year residency policy in relation to the pirating of athletes. “…the two-year residency rule for high school graduates coming from UAAP schools have to be taken in [the] context of [its] benefits. I think most of the schools who agreed or who were very strong in supporting the two-year residency rule ang parang comment nila is if the benefit packages were limited across all schools then you will not have that problem of piracy in the sense because the choice will only be either the academic program of the school or the sports program. Wala na yung: ‘Oh this school will give you a house and a car,’” Calanog comments. Calanog also mentions the evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of having foreign players in the league.
- What are the different perks of being part of the board?
Calanog talks about the transition from being a viewer into becoming part of the UAAP Board and his favorite bonus that comes with the job, “I have been watching UAAP since 1986 ever since I stepped into college. All throughout those years, siyempre I’m sure you are also fans of the UAAP and you have your ideas of what or how things should be ran. For me, I think the pinaka-perk is now you have a chance to affect those things that you think should be done or should be changed.”
Of course to their benefit, UAAP Board members are spared from the trouble of rubbing elbows with other people dying to support their teams. Away from the job, Reyes and Calanog are cold-blooded supporters of DLSU. “In addition to the pay for doing the job, we receive the following: four free tickets to the games, VIP access to the venue, as well as free parking.”
- How big is the impact of your role in the UAAP Board?
Edward Reyes, the current Chairman of the Eligibility Committee of the UAAP together with its members are tasked to draft the paper on Maximum Allowable Benefits to be offered to top recruits. “[Apart from this], I also sit as a resource person in ongoing negotiations between the UAAP and ABS-CBN for Broadcast and Marketing partnership.
“If you take it in the perspective of the whole board, dalawa kami ni sir Edwin that hopefully will push certain issues that we feel will benefit La Salle and the league as a whole,” Calanog talks about the gravity of their roles as board members.
- Can you tell us more about the daily life of a UAAP Board member? Does the job require a lot of time investment, meetings, etc.?
“It becomes busy when it comes to the UAAP season. Lalo na kasi each school technically will host and we distribute the different hostings of the different sports. Yung mga details from simple rent to making sure all your officials have water or food yung mga ganun and other logistical requirements. Yung mga ganun, it’s tedious but it’s event management. In that sense, it’s not really taxing but it is tedious,” Calanog expresses.
According to Reyes, the board meets up every month and each meeting can last up to six hours. Being a part of the Eligibility committee means they meet at least two weeks prior to an event to screen each line up of every participating university. “This process usually takes up a whole day as we schedule multiple event screenings per day,” says Reyes. Moreover, other meetings like research for ad hoc committee, emergency meetings, meetings for the staff and coaches, and preparation for the events are just some of the things on the plate of a UAAP board member. Also, as members of the board, they must be present in the games as much as possible.
- Could you tell us more about the kinds of decisions the UAAP Boards has to make every season?
As board members of the league, dealing with the different issues whether controversial or not is what encompasses the decisions that they will have to make each season. “But in reality those controversial issues are but the tip of what we decide on as a board. In a nutshell, the Board decides on everything regarding the league,” says Reyes.
Similar to what Reyes said, Calanog explains that the decisions they make on a monthly basis is primarily about how the league is ran. According to him, the board focuses on policy-making and the implementation of the general rules rather than the more technical issues. “What we try to do at least for the past few years is that we try to take the board away from the technical matters… I don’t know if you noticed, the board has turned down almost if not all, technical protests because we have put the power with the commissioner,” says Calanog.
- As both a representative of a school and a UAAP Board member at the same time, how do you make decisions in the board without being biased towards a school?
Reyes expresses that there is a need to distinguish what are the motives (if there are any) and motivations for a board member to vote for or against a specific ruling, policy, or measure that is being raised in the board. According to him, it is important that you should consider the effect of the issue not only to the school you represent but also to the other members. “I analyze issues based on [the] realities [that] our University has and also analyze how the same would affect the other universities. Next I look at its net effect on the league and if it will be a step toward a more level playing field. There is a threshold wherein our interest would merge with the interest of the league,” says Reyes. In other words, they look for a common ground.
Calanog mentioned the same message as he expressed the need for the board to find a common ground in order to implement a policy. More than that, he explained the motive or the process on how school representatives like him present proposals to the board. “It’s not a matter of being neutral, but rather, [it is about] pushing for a certain agenda that will hopefully support the interest of the school but will also support or be in the common interest of everybody,” says Calanog.
- From the perspective of the audience, a lot of viewers don’t seem to give enough credit to the UAAP Board and oftentimes they criticize them without knowing what really happened. Could you give us your stand on this? How does it feel to be given the backstage role to one of the country’s top sporting tournaments?
Calanog expresses that there is a tendency for people to presume based on what they know. Often times they are misled by the different stories broadcasted by the media and are led to these conclusions. “People always tend to judge the board based on only what they hear or what they see, which is based on what is released in the press mga ganun without necessarily knowing what is really going on inside,” says Calanog. He continues by explaining that in fact, the board is actually very collegial and that they have a good relationship with one another and that if there is any disagreement, it’s just work. With regards to the criticisms they get, he answers by saying, “We take it with a grain of salt whatever they say because we know that lalo na kung what they say is not really the truth, we know what the truth is and we always work for the betterment of the league.”
The same goes with Reyes and he says that in the league everyone has their role and this is theirs. “It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it,” says Reyes. He also expresses that even though it is an honor for them to hold this responsibility, none of them really wanted to be in the limelight and that they enjoyed serving in the background.
- How has the UAAP changed over the previous years with you sitting as a Board Representative? Has there been any significant progress and/or downfalls when it comes to the organizational aspect of the UAAP?
Reyes answers by simply saying; “I would like to think that my presence has created bonds of trust where previously we were perceived to be rule breakers.” For Calanog, being in the board for not so long has really changed his perspective on what the UAAP board is like. “My presumption is that each school is just pushing their own agenda to the detriment of the league and the athletes. Actually if you’re able to sit down in one board meeting, you’ll be surprise that ang talagang main focus nila are really the athletes and what is mistaken for a push for the school is actually more of a push for the athletes that’s why there are certain rules that are being made that is really more to protect the athletes than to protect the school,” says Calanog. He discovered that the main objective of the board members is to really help the players shine.
- Lastly, with the second half of the UAAP just around the corner, how excited are you and your colleagues for the outcome of this Season 77?
Being a representative and a supporter of La Salle, he says that he is very excited for the school. Also, he is excited for the different changes that will begin to unfold in the next seasons. “Since we are gunning for our third overall general championship, I can’t help but be excited and a bit anxious of the results of the season. But beyond this season, I am excited about the changes that are slowly unfolding in the UAAP in light of the topics being tackled in the board,” says Reyes.
For Calanog, he is very excited to see that the different teams are becoming more and more competitive. “Hindi na siya yung dati na alam mo talaga na isa will dominate everything because all the schools have started developing in a general sense,” says Calanog. He also expresses that aside from the main televised sports, people should also try watching the lesser-known sports. He expresses that there are plans to push for some airtime for the less popular sports like table tennis.