Freeman Cebu Sports

“The dean” appeals: No to commercialism in college sports

Rico S. Navarro - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  “It’s time that all schools should get together and start thinking, let’s take away this crass commercialism that’s destroying the purity of college sports.”

This was the appeal of noted Philippine Star sports columnist and commentator Joaquin “Quinito” Henson with regard to the glaring rise of commercialization in college sports. He bared this in an episode of the online webcast, “Bleacher Talk Goes Live.”

“Let us not commercialize and professionalize and take away the purity of college sports,” Henson added. Speaking from the heart and emotionally expressing his thoughts, he said that emphasis must be made on the fact that college athletes are primarily student-athletes. But he cited how some are thinking that their being athletes surpasses their obligation of being students.

Noting that the presence of player agents is now a common thing in college sports, he then proposed to take them away from the picture.

“My idea is to disallow college players to have agents until they are seniors or are in their last year in the UAAP or NCAA,” he said. He also revealed even today, that there are moves to have player agents for high school players.

Henson added that similarly, commercial endorsements should not be allowed until the last playing year of the student-athletes. “Commercial endorsements just take away the focus of the student-athlete. I know it means a lot to athletes because it’s money coming in, but they’re not professionals. They’re student-athletes. They should focus on their books,” he stressed.

In recruitment, schools should be talking to parents and not agents. But he also reminded parents that they “are there not to look after themselves as parents and their livelihood, but to see what is the best for their children. If they have a gifted son or daughter (in terms of being an athlete), I think every parent’s obligation is to make sure that that son or daughter should have a good education aside from getting the opportunity to be a top-level athlete.”

Addressing the practice that some players and their parents receive attractive perks, he advised, “Think long term. I’m appealing to the parents. Think of your children’s future. Don’t think short term; that we might get be able to get a car or a house and lot now, from my son from this school. Think about the education that that boy or daughter can have in playing for that school.”

Bleacher Talk Goes Live is an online webcast streaming over the Facebook Page Bleacher Talk Cebu of this writer. Its next guest is PBA great now coach Jojo Lastimosa on Monday, September 28.

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