The National Collegiate Athletic Association is leaning on vaccinating its student-athletes in order to be eligible to play.
While nothing is cast in stone yet, the league’s Management Committee (ManCom) appeared one in having the inoculation process be part of its eligibility requirements as safety measures for members from the COVID-19 pandemic.
ManCom Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran stressed the pros and cons arising from the issue, especially those who are vocal about not being vaccinated.
“Mainit ‘yung discussion namin diyan. Kasi alam ninyo we have to respect the freedom of an individual. But we’re asking our lawyers (right now),” Calvo said in the webcast edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
ManCom member Peter Cayco of Arellano also shared the same position as he joined Calvo in the weekly public sports program presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
“We recognize the rights of the students to choose kung magpa-vaccinate sila or not. But we also have to consider the rights of the other students na gustong magpa-vaccinate,” he said, adding the NCAA is just clearing the details with the league’s battery of lawyers in order to avoid any legal issue about the matter.
“We’re discussing (it) right now and we’re geared towards including vaccination in the eligibility requirements of the athletes.”
While the league respects the rights of every individual, Calvo said it’s imperative for the NCAA to inform their student-athletes about the importance of being vaccinated at this time of the pandemic.
“Kaya pinu-push namin ‘yung vaccination information campaign para ‘yung hesitancy ng mga players (mabawasan),” said the ManCom chairman in the same Forum powered by Smart and with Upstream Media as the official webcast partner.
Outside of the vaccination issue, everything is all set for the opening of the league’s Season 96 on June 13.
Online chess along with poomsae and speed kicking in taekwondo are among the featured sports in the NCAA’s calendar of events, while still awaiting the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Commission on Higher Education on the inclusion of skills challenges in both basketball and volleyball.
“Whatever is allowed, we’re malleable sa situation. And we will adjust pero naka-prepare kami in a worst case scenario,” said Calvo.
The theme for this season at the time of the pandemic is ‘Rise Up Stronger,’ which Calvo said is the translation of the ‘Arriba Spirit.’
The country’s oldest collegiate league will also have a new broadcast partner in GMA, giving it a wider audience view in the country.
“Against all odds, we will push through with this season. Kami we never think na cancel na ‘yung season,” added Calvo.