On college basketball player piracy and issues
UST's Rhenz Abando was the subject of a 'poaching attempt' after reports circulated yesterday that two other UAAP schools expressed interest in him.
On college basketball player piracy and issues
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - October 18, 2019 - 12:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — So much has been said about UST forward Rhenz Abando’s supposed transfer to another school. While that particular saga is said to be over as Abando has pledged to stay in España, it does bring to the fore — once more, I might add — the prevailing issues about recruiting or even player piracy.

Technically, there is nothing wrong with the absence of rules. There have never been rules about recruiting. Not even things such as “unwritten rules.”

I am not even sure if you can call it piracy since UST never developed Abando. He was recruited from some school in the north. If he came up through their system, I think it does qualify. 

But is it right? It depends on what side of the fence you are standing in or for the matter, where you went to school. 

I don’t think there should be hard and fast rules. Guidelines, yes. Rules, yes, but not cast-iron guarantees. There should always be that freedom of choice.

What if the player is being mistreated? Benched? Not getting along with the coach? Why should someone decide the fate of this kid? It is a fact that coaches can make or break the career of a player — how? Through playing time, opportunities given, or even branding a kid as a malcontent or even one who throws games. 

While the latter is altogether another issue, let me just say this…. it is so easy to accuse someone else for being dirty when he actually refuses to acknowledge his shortcomings as a coach. Yes, there are shenanigans in the game, but not everything can be attributed to selling games or point shaving. Believe me, there are a lot of crap coaches who point fingers at everyone else except themselves.

Back to the original premise. 

Transferring whether by one’s own volition or being pirated is no different from an employee being pirated or wanting to move to another company? You supposedly go to a better place whether due to financial concerns or just plain happiness level, career growth or benefits. In fact, one of the schools in the Abando equation offers medical benefits not only to the player but also his or her dependents (because they have a hospital). Maybe the allowances aren’t huge, but medical benefits are a huge perk. And honestly, I think that is great more so if the family doesn’t have the resources for medicine and health.

Now, when it comes to transferring, some — not all — those companies have mechanisms in place such as not working for a competitors for a year or non-disclosure agreements.

In collegiate sports, you have the residency.

If a regular student can move anytime he or she wishes, why cannot a student-athlete? You cannot make one distinction and not have it for the other. 

Maybe people are outraged because he is allegedly leaving or asked permission to leave right in the middle of the tournament. Or the audacity to throw lavish packages.

Now you are talking.

But there are no rules in place. In the absence of rules, does it make it wrong (timing be damned)?

Let’s make this clear. Schools do not have the money for this. It is the boosters who do. 

Is it right or wrong? That should be decided by the national sports bodies (because this goes for all sports) as well as all the leagues.

You know, people recruit at all times during the year. In the off season and during the season. you should watch the other leagues whether in college or in the juniors or grade school level. They are playing for one team today and for another the next. It is rampant in the grade or high school level. 

This is school you point out.

Isn’t school preparing you for the real world?

Do not get me wrong… I am all for guidelines and rules up to some point. And this definitely needs more discussion and debate. And they shouldn’t only include administrators but also educators, coaches, and players themselves. They need to understand the issues at hand from everyone’s point of view rather than making ill-informed rules as most are wont to do.

They need to think this clearly and not as a league coming up with another spur of the moment rule when they have so many other crappy rules such as this one and done rule and this anti-foreign player stance in place. 

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