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Challenges that lie ahead for UAAP, NCAA return to workouts

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Tiebreaker Times Challenges that lie ahead for UAAP, NCAA return to workouts NCAA NCAA-South UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Prospero De Vera III NCAA Season 96 Coronavirus Pandemic Commission on Higher Education

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Prospero De Vera admitted that the technical working group will face several challenges as it creates the guidelines for the return of college student-athletes to practice. 

In a virtual press conference held on Monday afternoon, the amiable official mentioned a few, including handling the numerous collegiate sports leagues in the country.

“Ang challenge dito actually is marami kasi ‘yung leagues,” De Vera admitted.

“I was told that there were many Manila-based leagues and many provincial leagues that have been organized over the past years. I have a list but it’s rather long.”

There are around 12 collegiate leagues in Metro Manila alone, including, of course, the prestigious University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). And there are about 10 provincial leagues, led by the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc., more popularly known as the CESAFI.

CHED would prefer starting with a smaller technical working group — consisting of the CHED, the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Department of Health (DOH), and representatives of collegiate leagues — to more efficiently disseminate guidelines once they are set.

“We have to start with the smaller group, a working group, and then later on as these were crafted, then we will cascade this to the other leagues all over the country,” De Vera said.

“That’s the first challenge.”

It is indeed just the beginning. The second challenge involves the events taking place within the leagues, which may need even more specific guidelines for athletes to comply with.

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“Well the IATF said all collegiate athletes training, so it will include all types of sports in universities and colleges,” said De Vera.

In the UAAP alone, the majority of its member universities compete in 15 events. On the other hand, its rival league, the NCAA, sponsors a total of 14 sports in the seniors division.

“The second challenge is [that] there are different sports within the leagues. So that’s the other challenge, because there might be specific concerns or specific things per sports discipline,” said De Vera.

Fortunately, though, the PSC is there to assist CHED in addressing the said issue. “That’s why we will need the help of the Philippine Sports Commission on this,” De Vera expressed.

“They are the ones who have the expertise to not only cascade it to the other leagues but within the leagues; pag-usapan ‘yung different sports on how they will convert these guidelines into specific trainings they will do per discipline.”

Besides the agency chaired by Butch Ramirez and the others involved in the group, several professional sport leagues have also committed to helping craft protocols.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra, together with PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Commissioner Eric Altamirano, and Philippines Football League Commissioner Coco Torre, have all vowed to share their best practices to the group as they are keen to help their amateur counterparts to buckle down to work safely.

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