A COUPLE of months ago, Sen. Pia Cayetano warned school leagues to drop the two-year residency rule or face the prospect of having the Senate do it for them.

As usual, when it comes to important matters that needed to be acted upon, school leagues failed to act, and now the Senate will do it for them, approving on third reading Senate Bill No. 2226 or the Student-Athletes Protection Act.

The bill cuts the residency requirement for college students to one year from the current two years and bars leagues from imposing any residency rule to transfering high school graduates.

It’s not yet a law, and I don’t how long it would take for a bill to become a law but I think it’s better for school leagues to start adopting the new guidelines.

The bill ushers in a different era as it means school leagues can no longer just enact rules that suit them because that is what the  residency rule is all about--it’s pro-school and anti-student.

But still, you can’t deny the fact that the residency rule was enacted because there are some athletes who cash in on their skills in college, asking for the stars from recruiters.

Will this open the way for a bidding war for the best athletes money can buy?  That we shall see.  

The purpose of the bill is to stop the commercialization of athletes--or to be specific---basketball players.  It’s only in basketball that huge money is involved but you need more than a bill to stop that.  

You need to end a culture that has been perpetrated, not just by the athletes, but everyone involved--coaches, athletic directors, recruiters, parents, alumni and sponsors.

On the day the bill was approved, a sponsor announced it was going to give cars to the top five basketball players in the land and that pretty much shows how difficult the fight against commercialization would be.

But it’s a good start and at least, we are in a better position than we were a year ago.

DONATIONS NEEDED: The Cebu Football Association is holding a donation drive for Marjoe Villariza Edquila, a 17-year-old footballer from the University of Southern Philippines who drowned while on a team outing.

The CFA said Edquila hoped to build a better future for his family by joining a college team in Cebu and now his family is asking for help in sending his body home.

Those who want to donate may contact Bryan or Alan at the CFA office.