Opinion: The #NewUAAPRule still doesn't make sense
MANILA, Philippines -- Perhaps in a bid to appease the uproar created by the insanity that is the #NewUAAPRule, the UAAP Board recently approved the addition of a release clause to the controversial rule’s provisions.
For those in the know, this release clause is identical to the release clause of the “Soc Rivera Rule.” In more specific terms, the release clause allows a student-athlete, someone who graduates from a UAAP high school and chooses to matriculate in a rival UAAP college afterwards, to be immediately eligible to play for his/her new school given the fulfillment of one particular condition – that the high school from which he/she graduated grants him/her a release.
In other words, unless one student-athlete’s high school doesn’t “release” him/her (hello, slavery, welcome to the 21st century), he/she is forced bound to sit out not one (as in the “Soc Rivera Rule”), but TWO years before he/she can represent his/her college.
Makes sense, right?
Of course not. Well, unless you subscribe to the belief that the interests of a school’s sports program supersede the interests of its student-athletes.
Sadly, in this world – wait, no – in THIS LEAGUE (because no other amateur league has lost its collective mind), that is exactly the case.
I’ll concede one thing first, however – this release clause narrows down the “affected population” of the #NewUAAPRule. In essence, student-athletes from not-so-exposed disciplines, student-athletes who don’t exactly hog the headlines, or those who don’t attract cutthroat recruitment should benefit.
I imagine these student-athletes wouldn’t have to go through hell or high water to secure releases from their “old allegiances.” Keep in mind, though, that sometimes reality is stranger than imagination, so I could be dead wrong here.
Anyway, that concession is small consolation on the level of principle, or logic for that matter.
Just try to wrap your head around these:
• You graduate from your high school, BUT YOU ARE NOT RELEASED.
• You get cleared of all your accountabilities (laboratory fees, disciplinary sanctions, and the like), BUT YOU ARE NOT RELEASED.
• All your buddies go on their separate ways. They choose this college or that. Maybe some of your teammates do the same thing, too. They do so without anything hanging over their heads, without any obligations to their high school because, well, they’re done with high school. Now you, despite all your contributions and achievements in the name of that high school, do not enjoy the same level of peace, the same level of freedom, because YOU HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED.
• You are penalized for exercising your God-given right to choose what you believe is the best destination (in this case, what you think is the best college) for you. BECAUSE DESPITE GRADUATING, DESPITE BEING CLEARED, AND DESPITE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL, YOU HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED.
If you finished maybe in an NCAA high school, or a Tiong Lian high school, or any non-UAAP high school, this would be a non-issue. Actually, check that, it IS a non-issue, except in the alternate universe named the UAAP. Maybe you should’ve gone to San Beda, where high school stars transcending into other colleges’ programs in the Seniors division is commonplace. And do we hear the Bedans lobbying for a similar two-year residency in the NCAA?
Of course not. They have enough sense not to.
They have enough sense to sense that the #NewUAAPRule, despite the release clause, still makes absolutely no sense.
In fact, the NCAA and Tiong Lian high schools are probably smiling inside, since the #NewUAAPRule might even push some budding cagers to consider the UAAP a less-beneficial destination moving forward. Why go to a UAAP high school that penalizes you for your choice of college when you can go to San Beda, Letran, LSGH, Xavier, Hope Christian, or San Sebastian (or any other non-UAAP high school), receive great training, and not have that rule’s stupidity hound you?
I don’t really feel bad for every UAAP high school athlete, however. I know many UAAP schools will give their graduates the releases they are entitled to. To the best of my knowledge, Adamson, Ateneo, Zobel, NU, UE, and UPIS have, historically, always released their high school athletes who choose to join another UAAP school upon graduation (post-2006, of course).
Adamson released Mark Juruena after Season 71. Ateneo released the likes of Mike Gamboa, Paulo Pe, Paolo Romero, Martin Pascual, and Kyle Suarez. Zobel released Jeric Fortuna, Gabe Capacio, Isaac Lim, and Sara Bo-ot. NU released Jovet Mendoza. UE released Matthew Bernabe. Weirdly enough (read: out of character), FEU released Dexter Rosales, Jomar Paulino, and Mark Lopez in 2007 (under some… controversial circumstances, of course), which was the same year the “Soc Rivera Rule” was first implemented.
So unless you’re a star Juniors player this season, then you need not worry because the #NewUAAPRule, armed with this candy-coated bomb named the “release clause,” was not designed to go after you.
It was designed for the likes of Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena, Zobel’s Renzo Subido, FEU-FERN’s JJ Domingo, NU’s Hubert Cani, or UPIS’s Diego Dario – guys who are stars in their high schools and might be blue chip recruits by October or November. The rule is designed to, at the very least, make these young talents think twice about changing colors. At its worst, the rule will contribute significantly to impairing the spectrum of choices these 17 or 18-year olds can make (Ravena and Dario probably wouldn’t have to worry, though, since Ateneo and UP didn’t vote in favor of the rule, and, I’m assuming, will release any of their student-athletes without even thinking twice).
It puts limits where there should be no limits. It’s unnatural. It’s illogical. It’s nonsense.
In the end, we should all feel blessed that the UAAP Board, in all its collective wisdom, gifted us with this release clause. Let’s all break bread and give thanks. It is the answer we have been waiting for.
It is the illusion. It is the fog that covers the deep, dark, and twisted mindset behind the #NewUAAPRule. It is the faux silver lining in a gray sky.
It is meant to make things better, and it will for a good number. But it will NOT make things better for all. And shouldn’t our rules do that very thing – make things better for all?
Welcome to the most popular amateur sports league in the Philippines – the UAAP – where graduation is not tantamount to release, where slavery goes by a new name, where greed trumps common sense, and where the success of school sports programs is more important than the formation of student-athletes.
Let us hear the round of applause. - Rappler.com