NCAA to push through with Season 96 amid pandemic
MANULA, Philippines—Charting a course no other collegiate league has dared to pursue, the maverick in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will push through with Season 96 by hosting four sports.
NCAA Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of host Letran bared that the oldest collegiate league in the country is initially looking at holding online tournaments in taekwondo, chess, women’s volleyball and men’s basketball projected to kick off from May onward.
Calvo said the management committee has already sought the guidance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on how they would go about the competitions since playing face to face among student-athletes are still prohibited.
“We need an audience with the CHED so we can agree on how far we can do this,’’ said Calvo during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.
“We will go online if we are not allowed. We just have to be resilient and creative. We have to show the entire nation that we can do this for the sake of our athletes,’’ he added, pointing out that it can be a template for other collegiate leagues to follow.
With a television partner in GMA-7, the NCAA is planning to start the season by holding poomsae events in taekwondo with the help of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, which has done and participated in several digital competitions last year.
Chess, which is currently being played professionally online, will be scheduled next before the 10 member schools participate in skills-based events in women’s volleyball and men’s basketball later on.
‘Online and hybrid’
Calvo made it clear that semi-bubble scrimmages for women’s volleyball and men’s basketball are not feasible at the moment after the league thoroughly studied its cost and potential risks on student-athletes.
It would also require the nod of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to get it done.
“Our primary concern is the safety of the athletes. We’ve done our analysis, a bubble-type tournament is risky and costly so we will not push through with it at the moment,’’ said Calvo during the weekly forum supported by Smart/PLDT, Go For Gold, Hotel Amelie, Braska, Pagcor and San Miguel Corporation.
He explained that the league would play it by ear and hold tournaments for only college student-athletes depending on the guidelines set by the CHED and the IATF.
“For high school student-athletes, we will be needing the consent of the parents, so we’ve decided to rule that out,’’ said Calvo.
The NCAA will likewise finance the vaccination of the athletes and officials of the 10 schools once the vaccines become available after league officials recently met with Unilab bigwigs.
“We have to be content with the new normal. For now, we have to do it online and hybrid. But once the situation improves, we can probably push through with a 3×3 (basketball) by September, whatever is allowed,’’ said Calvo.
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