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NCAA looks to add ‘no contact’ events for Season 96

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is not entirely closing its doors on holding more than four mandatory events in the shortened Season 96 next year.

Season 96 Management Committee (ManCom) chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of Letran said the collegiate league is considering adding more sports to its calendar of events, especially those which require less contact such as tennis, chess, badminton, table tennis, and esports.

Letran earlier announced basketball, volleyball, track and field, and swimming will be the only events to take place in the shortened season, whose opening has been pushed further to early 2021 (March) due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calvo and former chairman Peter Cayco of Arellano University discussed the plans and programs of the country’s oldest collegiate league on Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum webcast.

“Hindi naman tayo talaga naka-fix. We are fluid. We are on serving kung ano ‘yung sitwasyon para matuloy ‘yung NCAA,” said the Season 95 ManCom chairman.

“We’re a living organism. Hindi naman patay ang NCAA.”

The Letran official specifically mentioned the possible consideration of online chess and esports, both of which have come in handy during this time of the pandemic.

He said Mobile Legends is one of the online sports being deliberated by the collegiate league, citing how the country even won a gold medal in the event when esports made its debut in the last Southeast Asian Games.

“Sa SEA Games ginawa na natin ito. Nag-champion naman tayo, so why not do this especially in this time of the pandemic?” stressed Calvo in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart.

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As for the other sports, Calvo said the league may lessen events by doing away with the relays in swimming and track and field, or not having doubles in both lawn tennis and badminton.

Indoor volleyball, football, lawn tennis, soft tennis, track and field, under-15 basketball, and beach volleyball, as well as the cheerdance competition, were among the sports affected when the NCAA decided to completely  cancel the second semester events of Season 95 following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“Naka-apekto ‘yun (COVID-19) sa Season 95 because we’re not able to finish its calendar. At may ilang events that were scheduled to be held like beach volleyball track and field, cheerleading, while indoor volleyball and lawn tennis were not able to complete their tournaments,” said Cayco.

With the failure to stage other sporting events, the NCAA also decided not to hand out a general championship, since schools within the top three of the standings remain closely clustered at the top.

“Kasi ‘yung 1-2-3 spots are up for grabs. So we decided not to award a general championship,” added Cayco.

“So everything is now on Fr. Vic’s lap.”

Calvo said the ManCom has not yet discussed whether to award a general championship in the coming shortened season.

“Hindi pa siya na-discuss. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there,” added the long-time Letran athletic director.

“Premature pa as of now.”

Besides, more events could be added to Season 96 calendar once the health situation starts to improve in the coming months.

“Depende sa situwasyon, eh. We don’t know what will happen between now and March 2021.”

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