Limpag: Will Agbong reveal what really happened?

Fair Play

I knew Evan Jose Agbong would face the threat of a lifetime ban the first time I wrote about his status a few weeks ago.

Cesafi (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.) puts more importance on its student-athletes finishing their degrees than titles, so it takes grades and student-athletes adhering to its grade requirements seriously.

So when I first heard of the Agbong issue, I knew the league would throw the kitchen sink and then some at Agbong. And how did all this thing start? A former teammate wondered why Agbong got to play immediately for the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) when he had to sit out a year because, like Agbong, his grades wouldn’t muster the Cesafi standard.

And this all begs the question, who’s to blame?

I don’t for a minute believe Agbong misled USJ-R. That’s not how the recruitment process goes.

If there’s a potential recruit for a school program, the second thing a coach or athletic director checks, after checking the player’s skills, is his grades. It is at that point that the recruiting school decides whether the player is worth the one-year wait — one year to get his grades up to Cesafi standards — or not.

Which begs the question, who aided Agbong in submitting a tampered transcript of records to the league? Does a college student, one who failed his classes, have the know-how to tamper a TOR?

I think not.

In all the cases of cheating in Cebu sports that involved tampered records — from the Milo Olympics, to football, to basketball — a coach is always involved.

Agbong risks the ignominy of a lifetime ban from the league for submitting tampered records, an image that he will carry in whatever school-based league would dare accept him after this.

But the Cesafi threw him a lifeline. And for this, he must think hard and must disregard advice from his coach or athletic office.

If you remember, the league’s suspicion was piqued when he, upon the advice of a school official, refused to sign an authorization letter for the league to get his transcript from Liceo de Cagayan.

It is unfortunate that this is happening to USJ-R just weeks after the school celebrated having a topnotcher in the Civil Engineering exam.

But it is what it is. The Cesafi is forced to act because somehow a fraudulent record of an athlete found its way to the screening committee.

And the league must make its stance is understood by all members by coupling it with sanctions so severe that coaches or athletic directors would stop themselves mid-dream should they even dream about faking credentials.

Or perhaps the embarrassment for USJ-R would be enough for the school to clean its ranks.

Whatever the case, the Agbong case should be the last incident of a student submitting tampered records. Whether that will be the case, Agbong will have a say.


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