NCAA keeps doors closed to foreign players

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Metro Manila (June 23, CNN Philippines) - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is keeping its doors closed to foreign student-athletes in the coming Season 96.

NCAA Management Committee (Mancom) chair Fr. Vic Calvo, OP, of host school Colegio de San Juan de Letran, said the ban on foreign players will remain in effect despite the many adjustments being made in the league amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As of the moment, majority of the NCAA schools agree na mas maraming negative na nadudulot yung presence ng imports (the presence of imports causes more negative outcomes)," Calvo said during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Wednesday.

The country’s oldest collegiate league came up with the controversial policy change a few years back with a deadline to end recruitment of foreign players in 2014.

The remaining batch of reinforcements were only allowed to play until last season including basketball players Donald Tankoua and Arnaud Noah of San Beda University, Clement Leutcheu of De La Salle- College of St. Benilde and Mike Nzeusseu of Lyceum of the Philippines University.

The tough NCAA ruling sparked debates last year in social media, but the league stood firm in its position.

“I can enumerate 10 disadvantages," Calvo said. "Sa open discussion, we realized that the presence of foreign players has done more harm than good in basketball."

The NCAA, however, is not completely dismissing the possibility of having foreign athletes again in varsity teams. It said the league is “dynamic” and the ruling can be voted upon.

“NCAA is a democratic association," Calvo explained. "Kung 10-member schools ‘yan tapos anim yung bumoto na bumalik, babalik ‘yan (If there are 10 member schools, then six voted in favor of their return, they might return)."

While echoing the same sentiments, Season 95 Mancom chair Peter Cayco emphasized his gratitude to foreign student-athletes for their invaluable contributions to the league.

“Don’t get us wrong we’d like to thank the foreign players for being able to train and teach our Filipino guys how to play against bigger and heftier foreign players," said Cayco.

NCAA Season 96 is set to open in the early months of 2021 with only four mandatory sports, namely basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field.