Limpag: Hope for foreign student athletes?

Fair Play

THERE’S an interesting development in the House of Representatives that could affect collegiate sports leagues in the future. If you remember, the NCAA was set to ban imports starting School Year 2020, but that along with all others were scuttled because of the pandemic, while the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. was set to follow suit in School Year 2021.

Almost all of the imports who were set to be affected hit out on the ban, with some calling it racist. However, since the school leagues were forced to suspend their seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bans were not implemented.

Recently, in one of their more relevant moves, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 8243, the Equality and Non-Discrimination on Race, Ethnicity and Religion Act. It basically penalizes those who discriminate based on race.

And what I’m interested in is if the foreign students who lost their spots in the school leagues can cite the bill in overturning the ban by the school leagues. While I disagree with the ban by school leagues on foreign students as we have a lot of foreigners in our schools, I do recognize that the school leagues have the right to set their own eligibility rules.

The proposed bill might take that away from them and make matters worse. Most of the rules covering foreign students limited schools to having one on the court at a time. But with this, that can be overturned, right?

I remember the landscape of European football changed when a court overturned a rule that limited teams to having three foreign players each. Now, rich teams can field an all-foreign squad.

Will this bill be the Bosman ruling of Philippine school sports? I hope before it gets to that, the school leagues will be consulted once the House discusses the implementing rules and regulation of the bill.

Of course, there’s a sure way to get around this and that is to not go through with the ban on foreign imports. I think the ban was implemented because a few schools had the advantage and the deep war chest to recruit the best imports to the disadvantage of some.

But there are other foreign students who are here on their own and are not recruited and could have used that athletic scholarship.

I guess, we will see what happens next.


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