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The unconstitutional residency rules are just the tip of the iceberg

Ateneo top recruit Hubert Cani (20), who already served the one-year residency rule, is hoping to play this season since the law (RA 10676) has already been signed.  The UAAP Board will meet on Sept. 1 to decide on this matter even as this early, some are saying the law cannot be applied retroactively. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- The Student-Athlete Protection Act or R.A. 10676 has been officially signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III.

While these uncharitable, abusive, and unconstitutional Residency Rules propagated by the various collegiate leagues around the country have been knocked out, there lurks even more danger.

And we have barely scratched the surface here.

I have reported on these during my two senate reports as well as in columns in different media.

Bondage over scholarships

There are many colleges that practice this. You would be surprised at what schools practice this.

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On some occasions when a student-athlete is unable to win in his or her event, they find their food allowances yanked. And sometimes even worse, their scholarships.

The net result from this is that some of these student-athletes drop out of school because their family is unable to pay for the tuition fees.  They find themselves disillusioned and quite a few have taken solace in alcohol or drugs. I have spoken to a few parents of these former student-athletes and to say they are angry is an understatement.

Now if they are made aware that the scholarship will be yanked at any time when they were being recruited then I highly doubt they would have gone to these schools.

It is one thing to lose a scholarship because he or she flunked and it is altogether another thing when one doesn't win.

What do they wish to communicate to these youngsters -- that winning is everything and if you don't win you're a failure? Unfortunately, after a few years, no one remembers who took second or third place. If you say, have eight schools in the UAAP and 10 in the NCAA, what does that make of others? Losers?

Those mysterious miscellaneous fees
When a student-athlete chooses a college, aside from the scholarship concerns, they should ask if there are any miscellaneous fees that need to be paid.

There are several U-belt schools are notorious for this. If a student-athlete is unable to win in his or her event, when it is time for them to secure their transcript of records, they are told first to pay for miscellaneous fees.

Incredibly, they know nothing about this.  Again if they were told of this caveat during the courtship by school or athletics officials, I doubt if these student-athletes would have gone to them.

When a student-athlete is being recruited, they should ask all these concerns and more. Everything should be very clear and under no circumstances must they agree to handshake deals. Everything on paper with proper signatures and witnesses.

Tape all conversations with school officials if you must. This is for your protection.

The problem with some of these student-athletes is they accept money because they come from poor families. By virtue of that and utang ng loob, they become slaves.

Technically, there isn't anything wrong with offering some financial help because there are no rules against it. It might sound unethical but in the absence of rules then there is nothing wrong.

And lastly, physical and verbal abuse.
Let's make this clear. I understand people get chewed out. Sometimes. All of the time. For mistakes. For stupidity. It's part of life and part of sports.

But when it involves kids, high school kids, it could be construed as abuse.

When a kid refuses to go to school, to play sports, or even step on the floor because of fear that is different. Now there are some kids with a low threshold for criticism but what I am driving at is shaming the kid no end. With degrading the kid to the point he or she is considering taking his or her life.

There are some coaches who physically beat up their players. Sometimes, they even ask the veteran players to inflict the beatings on their hapless teammates.

There are several schools that do this -- one prominent UAAP and NCAA school including a known Chinese school.

The Residency Rules are the tip of an iceberg of problems and abuses perpetuated by certain schools.  The government and DECS should conduct seminars for all student-athletes so they will be aware of their rights. In the same way the NBA conducts seminars for incoming rookies on how to handle the media, their finances etc the same should be done for student-athletes.

If not ignorance of their rights and fear of unscrupulous school officials will continue this mad cycle of abuse and exploitation. 

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