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Changes We’d Like to See in the UAAP – Part 1

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While we’re in that quiet period just before the opening of the 72nd season to open in little more than 3 weeks, perhaps it’s time to come up with a “wish list” for the UAAP. How could the UAAP improve and better serve its major stakeholders?

How is the UAAP run today?

There is a UAAP board composed of two representatives from each school. The UAAP president is not elected; rather the position is given to the host school representative since hosting is rotated among the member schools. There is no fixed term for board members, and some current members have been on the board ever since who can remember. The qualifications for being a board member are unknown. Most board members are fiercely protective of their own school’s interests, and the older members have formed unofficial alliances similar to an ‘old boys club’ to ensure that their agenda can be carried out. This mutual back scratching has allowed the mutual-interest status quo to prevail despite attempts by independent minded school representatives to introduce progressive changes.

Basketball

A basketball commissioner is appointed by the host school to oversee the centerpiece sport. The commissioner is supposed to have a technical committee which is tasked to resolve technical matters, but the board can had does on occasion step in to resolve issues that are sometimes within the responsibility of the technical committee of commissioner.

Last year’s appointment of the Chito Narvasa as commissioner and his subsequent (nepotistic?) appointment of his brother Ogie as assistant/deputy commissioner immediately resulted in a controversy when he slapped Franz with a technical foul even before our first game had started. Things went downhill from then, with Ogie figuring in a scrap with a school official later in the tournament.

This year, host school FEU appointed Joe “the Nose” Lipa as commissioner. Although Lipa has coached two member schools in the past, he is viewed as a credible and competent commissioner, particularly after he ably managed last year’s NCAA tournament. He was able to resolve a supposed intervention by a ranking SBP executive regarding the choice of referees during the NCAA finals.

Other sports

Unless it has changed this year, the commissioner’s role is limited to basketball. All other sports are managed separately, and are given less attention by the board.

Aside from the championship for each event, the UAAP also has a general championship which uses the placing of each school in each event. UST has dominated the general championship for the last several years, showing a balanced sports program. La Salle has tried to contend for the general championship, but has fallen short. The one-year suspension also derailed the consecutive championship runs of some of our teams such as the women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams, forcing these teams to rebuild.

Media coverage has been sporadic, and only basketball and women’s volleyball were covered on a regular basis by ABS CBN. Other sports like men’s volleyball, badminton, and soccer were not televised live for most part until the championship games. Sports that are not so popular such as fencing and chess are rarely if ever given media space. No broadsheet gives updates on the different sports or general championship standings throughout the UAAP calendar. While ABS CBN’s contract for sports coverage hasn’t expired yet, there are already moves by competitors such as Solar Sports to bid for sports coverage for future seasons.

How the UAAP supports sports development remains a mystery. The UAAP board has remained fiercely independent even of the National Sports Associations, and participation of UAAP athletes usually remains on an individual or school basis only. Ideally, the UAAP sports programs should dovetail with the NSAs’ plans, but no such alliance or coordination exists today. The refusal of the UAAP to be accountable to or influenced by NSA’s can be seen in the infamous forfeiture of La Salle’s 3-peat championship during the Limpot era, the UAAP even defied the BAP which ruled in La Salle’s favor.

(photo courtesty of http://img341.imageshack.us/i/dsc05531mw8.jpg/)