UAAP fine-tunes rules as FEU athlete declared ineligible
MANILA, Philippines – After ruling out Far Eastern University (FEU) foreign student basketball player Emmanuel Ojuola from playing this season, the UAAP plans to make an official rule book to prevent confusion among member schools regarding the eligibility of their players.
"We need some stability," said UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag.
"I realized that we’re a private association, but we realized that the UAAP has gone some sort of public already, so it’s our goal hopefully this year, to make our rules public and to be published – whether on the website – and come up with a rule book so we're all reading the same rules."
In the Season 82 eligibilty meeting last Thursday, August 29, Ojuola was declared ineligible due to a rule that apparently doesn't cover foreign student-athletes taking their masters degree in a member school. (IN PHOTOS: Ateneo lights up UAAP Season 82 opening ceremony)
The rule states: "A student-athlete from a non-member school who is pursuing graduate studies in a member school shall not be subject to residency requirements."
This allowed Gilas recruit Troy Rike, a graduate of Wake Forest University, to pursue his masters degree and play for National University.
However, Saguisag clarified that players who want to benefit from the rule should be able to prove their Filipino citizenship.
"In the case of FEU, he was ineligibile because he’s a foreign student-athlete," said Saguisag.
"Troy Rike was able to avail of that for the mere fact that he is a Filipino citizen and that is the same rule being applied to some players from La Salle."
The 'Angelo Kouame' discussion
Saguisag, though, wants to move forward and pave the way for foreign student-athletes like Ojuola to participate in the UAAP, just like the rules that allowed Ateneo's Angelo Kouame to join the league.
"In fact, the direction of the league is to align it in the case of Angelo Kouame. If you’re a foreign student-athlete, you have graduated in the Philippines and have attended one full academic year here even if you’re a foreigner, you won't have to redshirt," added Saguisag.
Season 81 Rookie of the Year Kouame was not subjected to a redshirt year even if he's a foreign student-athlete as he satisfies the requirements of a high school student entering a UAAP team.
The rules indicate that a foreign student-athlete need not serve a one-year residency if he finished at least one academic year and graduated from a Philippine high school.
Saguisag also dispelled the issue on Kouame's eligibility brought up by a board member during Thursday's meeting.
"To me, there’s no issue. Again, I want to dispell – maybe there are a number who are trying to question it – but as to a formal written complaint or inquiry, none has reached the office."
The UAAP hopes to finish the rule book within Season 82 in order for the league to implement the rules by Season 83. – Rappler.com