Is recruiting out of control in collegiate sports?
NU Bullpups standouts Carl Tamayo (L) and Gerry Abadiano committed to join the UP Fighting Maroons.
Is recruiting out of control in collegiate sports?
Rick Olivares ( - August 4, 2020 - 1:22pm

MANILA, Philippines – Is recruiting out of control in collegiate sports? In order to try and answer that question as accurately as possible, you have to break down that question while pointing out what it alludes to.


That refers to the bringing in of athletes from other schools or out of the country. It also refers to offering scholarships and packages outside their basic education, and board and lodging.

That infers to the taking of players from other programs into their own. 

Coaches and supporters refer to the spiriting away players from their high school programs to other high school programs or moving up to other colleges.

The second part of the question is “collegiate sports”.

What exactly does “collegiate sports” mean? Yes, it is sports competition involving college student-athletes. There was a time that scholastic sports competition (elementary, high school and college) was referred to as “amateur competition. That is because they aren’t paid as a means of livelihood. 

Now that we have established that, what is wrong with those definitions?

The money that has poured wherein student-athletes are offered packages beyond what is normal? But what is normal? Does a player taken from the provinces for third year to senior high constitute as “homegrown” or a recruit?

Define “homegrown”? Is it coming up from the grade school ranks all the way to high school? But some transfer organically rather than because they were spotted by some coach. 

People cite to “unwritten rules” and should people hold on to them?

Yes. But these “unwritten rules” have to be clear. You can look to football where the ball is kicked out of the field of play when a player is down. That is called “Fair Play”. Now if a player is faking it, then he should be carded by the referee.

We have heard schools in the now defunct Tiong Lian League point to fellow schools reneging on the “all-Filipino Chinese and homegrown rules”. The others say in their defense, that we do not have a big school population so they need to recruit, or they ask, what are these unwritten rules? They have a point.

And that brings me to something I have long pointed out — fix these rules once and for all. In the absence of them, everything is fair game. 

I think all league officials and administrators have to sit down and finally craft all these rules instead of seeing new rules changes year after year. It is crazy, isn’t it — to see new rules to curb foreign players, transferees etc.

Before any edicts are issued about recruiting, you have to go to the root of all these matters to define them and figure out what is best. 

It is difficult to place parameters about “packages” because one can always declare something then offer perks “under the table”. 

Maybe recruiting is out of hand. Maybe it isn’t. Until accurate studies are made, it is just speculation. 

I think our collegiate officials across the land have not done their jobs, which is to craft a “bible” for their leagues. They should also seek the help of professionals and the national sports bodies to make sure this is in sync and cascaded down across the land. If this pandemic hasn’t forced them to take a long hard look at what is going on and what could possibly happen, then, we’re in for more of these midnight rule changes and more controversies. 

I believe that all the schools have to take a look at themselves and ask what they stand for. What culture are they inculcating? Creating a culture requires time, but the funny thing is all these schools have been around for decades. Some have made names for themselves as top schools for business, medicine, accounting, engineering etc. That’s great. But the culture extends to more than that. 

The word “culture” comes from the Latin word “colere” that means “to tend and grow and nurture”. So what do you stand for — excellence? Producing students who will be productive citizens of the world? Or winning at all costs? And you know what that means — taking shortcuts and sacrificing the ideals of what is amateurism and collegial about these sports competitions. 

Loyalty is out. And with that ethics. 

The Latin phrases these schools use in their logos should be imbibed and lived all the way from the president down to their teachers and students, coaches and student-athletes, and even personnel. 

It sure is hard to be like an old school dinosaur who thought that the reason I went to a school was because of its education quality.

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