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UAAP to enforce ‘maximum allowable benefits’ to student-athletes

After years of coaches questioning the recruitment process, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines has taken the right step to stop the alleged “hoarding” of talent. 

The league’s Board of Trustees has approved last month the “maximum allowable benefits” rule that will set a limit to the allowances and extra benefits a recruit will be receiving.

The rule will be imposed starting this year.

“This just to prove that the UAAP is working all this time kahit nasa pandemic tayo. Kahit wala tayong Season 83, tuloy-tuloy ang due dilegence natin to help improve the league,” said University of the Philippines’ member to the UAAP Board of Managing Directors dean Kiko Diaz.

“To be enforced this Season 84 is the Maximum Allowable Benefits rule. Basically, nag-set ng guidelines ang UAAP na lahat na mare-receive na benefits ng student-athletes natin ay mayroong ceiling. This is done so that hindi tayo basta-basta mag-entice lamang ng kahit na sinong students para lang makapasok sa universities natin.

“And more importantly, it was hinged on the rationale na we want our student-athletes to enroll in the eight member universities of the UAAP because of either their sports development program, kung saan sila malakas na event, or dahil sa mga academic programs nila,” he continued.

Diaz cited University of the East as an example.

UE’s juniors fencing program has dominated the league over the past decade. But once the student-athlete has graduated, UE will have a better shot at landing the recruit because of its strong program. Same with student-athletes whose ideal course is in one member university but was enticed to go to another one due to the benefits he or she will receive.

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“Again, this measure is done to level the playing field,” Diaz continued.

The maximum allowable benefits rule gives equal “peso-for-peso” value. The peso value of tuition fees, lodging, and others of each school are also of equal value as stated by the rule.

Backing the rule up is the Athletic Programs Reportorial Act or Republic Act No. 11180 which requires colleges and universities to submit a report to the Commission on Higher Education their expenditures in their athletic programs.

“Mabuti na lang na nataon na merong bagong hinahain ang Commission on Higher Education na Athletic Programs Reportorial Act.

“Doon pa lang, may sina-submit na these reports to CHED twice a year. Swak na swak siya. By these reports, meron na kaming black and white that these schools will sign off and we can actually look into,” said UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag.

Implementing though is one thing, policing is another.

Unlike the US NCAA which works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the UAAP does not have the luxury of having an independent body to police these matters.

For the first few years of the rule, the “honesty system” will be implemented.

“As we know, policing is another matter and there’s a challenge but you cannot try to move towards change thinking about the negatives. We do know that there will be challenges,” said Saguisag.

“Challenges aside, ang importante dito, the UAAP is taking a stand, na pinapakita natin na ito ang direksyon namin and putting everyone on notice, not just the schools as well as probably the supporters nila para alam nila. We believe that we’re ready for the challenge and this is really a step in the right direction and we have the CHED to help us with that part.”

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