By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of the Philippines just changed its stand regarding their student-athletes who are also playing in the different professional leagues.
Last February 8, 2024, the NCAA announced that they are no longer allowing student-athletes to participate in any professional sports league, explaining that this decision will give them more time to focus on their school and their commitment to their various sporting programs.
Initially, the NCAA decided to allow their student-athletes to join any professional league if given a special guest license by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
That then paved the way for several NCAA student-athletes to play for the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), and the Philippines Football League (PFL).
According to Arellano University representative to the management committee Peter Cayco, they only allowed the student-athletes to play simultaneously because it was a pandemic and they needed more exposure to elevate their game.
“During the pandemic, we saw the need for the players, student-athletes to hone up their skills and even elevate them,” said Cayco.
With the shifted stance of the organizing body, several current student-athletes will have to get their contracts fixed with their professional franchises to continue playing in the NCAA.
Unless they withdraw from their varsity school programs and decide to fully turn pro, then the NCAA will no longer have the right to slap them with severe penalties.
Aside from this matter, the NCAA is also looking to revise its rules regarding the residency period of transferring athletes.
Normally, both the NCAA and the UAAP observe a one-year residency applied to all athletes and all sporting events of the tertiary sporting organizations.