Once the calendar turns to September this year, a brand new season of sporting events will start under the system of a new academic calendar. This is what the eight member schools of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will face this 2015. With at least half of the league changing their academic calendars due to the impending ASEAN integration, the UAAP has decided to follow suit to ensure a smoother transition for the institutions involved. Instead of the usual July kickoff, the UAAP’s first round will now begin in the first week of September, a date much closer to the August 23 start of DLSU’s Term 1, AY 15-16. This gives the University’s athletes an easier time to adjust to student life given that in La Salle’s history in the league, never has the start of both the season and the school year has been this close.
“I don’t think it will affect us lalo na tayo because we’re trimestral,” Office of Sports Development (OSD) Director and UAAP Board Representative Emmanuel Calanog explains. “We’re just technically shifting the date of ‘reckoning’.”
“There shouldn’t be much effect on athletes since the league has rules and practices that accommodate our trimester schedule,” fellow UAAP Board member Edwin Reyes adds.
The new calendar’s impact
According to Calanog, the biggest adjustment the OSD will face with regard to the calendar shift is the recruitment of freshmen. For the coming academic year, some high school graduates would have to wait from April to August before they can get into the university, which is a long period of time. Because of this, the OSD is worried that the incoming freshmen may opt to enroll in other universities that will begin their academic year earlier than DLSU. Nevertheless, they are confident that the parents of the incoming freshmen won’t just look at the sports program but also the school’s academic program as well.
Lasallian athletes who are members of the national team are also affected by the incoming shifts in the academic calendar. However, this problem has been resolved through the rescheduling of the teams’ training routine to satisfy the players’ responsibilities for both their national and University team.
Amid the calendar shift, Calanog admits that there are other problems that should be given more attention to. Given that the effects of the K to 12 program will be felt beginning next school year, he believes the shortage of freshmen could limit the pool of recruits for the next two years, a concern that affects not only DLSU, but also the other UAAP schools.
“Yung two years na yun na wala kang graduate, for one whole cycle, that would be a big effect on our recruitment, on our sustainability of the program,” Calanog mentions, adding that teams will then have to stack up on juniors, seniors, and fifth year players to compensate for the loss.
Aside from this, other issues, both new and old, will be raised during the long layoff. Matters regarding the eligibility of Filipino, Fil-foreign, and foreign players will definitely be tackled, with Ben Mbala’s playing in a unendorsed league already drawing attention this early in the year.
“The governance structure of the league will definitely be tackled this summer,” Reyes mentions among other concerns that the league board will tackle now that the matter on the calendar shift has been finalized.
At the end of the day, the shift has become more inevitable than pondered upon. Schools have shifted their calendars way before the UAAP board had decided to do so and the move was more for the students than the league, given that though these athletes leave it all on the court, they are first and foremost, students.
“The UAAP calendar shift is very interesting,” Reyes mentions. “Like any new thing, I anticipate some kinks along the way. But it is something that we can benefit from as a University.”