Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

On the Mikee Bartolome Two-Year Residency Rule/TRO/Boycott incident - UAAP: Controversy never ends

UAAP: Controversy never ends
by rick olivares

How controversial is the UAAP’s Two-Year Residency Rule? For one, the issues surrounding it refuse to die.

To recap, the Two-Year Rule was imposed after FEU-FERN’s star player and Ateneo recruited Juniors Most Valuable Player Jerie Pingoy. The rule superseded the previous but similarly inane One-Year Residency Rule (or Soc Rivera Rule) on student-athlete who move from a UAAP high school to another UAAP college.

Senator Pia Cayetano called for a hearing in the senate about the rule. She made good on her promise to take legal action against the rule by helping the family of Mikee Bartolome, a swimmer from UST high school who enrolled in UP for college and was affected by the rule.

In my research about athletes affected by the rule, I met the family of Mikee Bartolome and thought about inviting them make an appearance at the hearing as sort of like a bombshell.

The Bartolome’s tried to go through proper channels in securing a release but when it was denied, they had no choice but to take the legal route.

A Quezon City Regional Trial Court (Branch 226) slapped a Temporary Restraining Order on the UAAP’s Two-Year Residency rule paving the way for Bartolome’s participation in UP’s campaign for a five-peat in swimming.

When the league’s swimming competition began last Thursday, September 19, at the Trace College in Laguna, the UAAP sent an email to the tournament commissioner to stop her from competing. They cited the One-Year Residency Rule that they said was still in effect if the Two-Year Residency Rule did not apply.

The commissioner of the swimming tournament consulted a lawyer; fearing being cited for contempt by the court, he allowed Bartolome to compete. However, swimmers from La Salle and UST did not participate.

Bartolome’s team 4x50 medley relay for women smashed the old record of 2 minutes and 7.58 of a second for the new record of 2 minutes and 6.31. But the UP contingent was unable to fully celebrate because of the non-participation of some swimmers.

Two statements
The “boycott” drew the ire of Sen. Cayetano who said in a statement:

"I condemn the boycott instigated by certain school officials  at the UAAP swimming competitions in support of the UAAP Board's brazen refusal to abide by the court rulings affirming Mikee Bartolome's right to swim in the school of her choice.

"There's nothing to gain from the boycott, except to send the message that the UAAP is too high and too proud to take orders from anyone, including from our honorable courts, even if they trample on the rights of student-athletes.

"By preventing the student-athletes from openly competing and showcasing their talents, the UAAP leadership is proving that promoting the development of the student-athletes is not their priority. Instead they would prefer to create a culture of protectionism  in support of their narrow institutional interests.

"Sabotaging the swimming competitions will not resolve this issue. Now, not only Mikee but the rest of the student swimmers as well are suffering from the UAAP leadership's intransigence.

"This is a sad sad day in Philippine sports."

The UAAP responded with a statement of their own that released to media hours after Cayetano’s comments.

“THE UAAP Board remains respectful of a court order against the imposition of the “two-year residency rule” for fresh high school graduates who transfer from one member school to another.

“The board is doing so in the case of University of the Philippines (UP) freshman Anna Dominique “Mikee” Bartolome, a swimmer from UST high school, whose father brought his daughter’s case to court and earned a temporary restraining order and eventually an order preventing the UAAP from imposing the two-year residency rule.

“As a result of the court order, the UAAP has no recourse but to heed and revert to the previous rule which has been imposed for decades. The old rule requires a freshman student-athlete who transfers from one UAAP school to another to complete one year of residency.

“The court order was specific on the “two-year” rule which was imposed only this Season 76, and not on the previously accepted “one-year” rule. It would be worse for the UAAP if it also lifts the long accepted one-year rule.

“In Bartolome’s case, she, like all other freshman transferees before her, must undergo the one-year residency before she could swim for UP. Bartolome’s elder sister served a one-year residency before she could eventually compete for the Fighting Maroons.

“On the “boycott” of swimmers in events Bartolome competed or will compete in, the UAAP Board did not order such, nor did it instigate the move. The board in general deemed it as the schools’ decision, perhaps as a sign of personal indignation or protest.

“Adamson University, the season host, in particular, would not instigate any protest. The Soaring Falcons only have one female entry in the swimming competitions.

“The UAAP Board’s decision to heed the court order was unanimously agreed upon by its members during an emergency meeting on Thursday (September 19).”

First of all the line “the previous rule which has been imposed for decades” isn’t true. That has been in effect for less than a decade as it was passed by the UAAP on May 22, 2007.

And second, if the old One-Year Rule was in effect, why did Bartolome clear the player eligibility meeting before the tournament? Unless this was a tactic to prevent the courts from placing a TRO on that rule as well.

UAAP battles wages on two courts
League sources tell me that the UAAP will revisit all their rules in the off-season but are wary of all the TROs. This is the second such TRO filed against the league this season.

Also this first semester, the family of UPIS cager Joshua General was able to secure the court order that allowed him to play in the juniors basketball tournament.

The UAAP Player Eligibility Committee declared General ineligible to play the rest of the season after he was found out to have exhausted the five-year playing window for high school athletes.

He was initially cleared to play despite having graduated twice from the elementary level, the first from Naga Parochial School in 2008 and a second time in 2010 after he took up Grade Seven at Lourdes School in Mandaluyong.

However, the league also learned that General enrolled in San Beda high school in Taytay in 2008 as a freshman but dropped out in the first semester of that school year.

The TRO secured by the Generals allowed Joshua to play out the remainder of the season.

My league sources now fear that will all the court rulings against them, what is to stop all the schools from resorting to that tactic to get what they want.

A record of controversy
It is a royal mess all right but that is the league’s fault for coming up with all these stupid, prejudiced, unfair, and malicious rules.

For all the success of the UAAP, there’s an ugly side where sportsmanship has taken a backseat to winning. Or winning at all costs.

Rules are routinely being passed to circumvent the success of certain teams. Sometimes, because of the way the rules are vaguely written, they are interpreted in a way to suit the purpose of a few at the expense of others. Some rules are even passed as a means of even punishing certain individuals. Even the scheduling of certain matches at times looks suspicious.

The UAAP Board, supposedly composed of athletic officials and educators (some aren’t), have oft been at odds with each other. Decisions purportedly for the good for the league are sometimes made to stop teams on the playing field.

One board member told me that during a pre-season eligibility meeting, the school representative of a questioned athlete (who was disallowed to suit up) came up to him and cussed him for his decision to vote "no". The angry school representative called in a marker (because he sided with him on a previous decision).

As I said before, therein lies the problem, some times decisions are arrived at to curry favors.

The years have seen a lot of controversies crop up but this season has been the worst in memory.

It started in the pre-season with the Senate hearing into the controversial Two-Year Residency Rule. Then there was the Joshua General TRO against the UAAP. The number of suspensions and memos from the UAAP Commissioner that drew a lot of flack from the different schools (it all boils down to a lack of consistency and differences in interpretation). There was the Bo Perasol suspension and the circumstances that led to it. There was the forfeiture issue and as well as suspended players being courtside. There was even former FEU player Pipo Noundou being banned. And that’s just basketball and it is only the first semester!

If you go back to the league’s history, they have a rap sheet that can fill up a book and this is an abbreviated list.

The first was in the 1960s when two champions were declared as men’s champions – UE and UST – when both teams figured in a fracas and it was deemed the match could no longer continue.

The second was in 1991 when the board ordered a replay of a title match between FEU and La Salle over a player who had fouled out but was on the court for a few more seconds. The latter refused to play and as a result, the trophy was handed over to FEU.

In 1993 after UST swept the elimination rounds and was declared champion, the Final Four was created the following year. While I understand that a Final Four makes the league more exciting, rather than reward a team for excellence, they make it even more difficult.

When UE swept the two elimination rounds in 2007, they lost to La Salle that went through the stepladder format before facing a rusty Red Warriors team that had not played for two weeks.

The following year, a thrice-to-beat incentive was created in the event a team swept the elimination rounds again.

Really? Why not just give them the title outright? Thrice-to-beat? Now that is making it extremely difficult for the other team to win.

There have been residency rules on Fil-Ams and foreigners as well that while correct, started out as a means to curb La Salle’s success in the 1990s.

There’s more but I won’t go into that anymore.

A history lesson and winds of change
In 1924, Dr. Rogelio Ylanan, Physical Education Director of the University of the Philippines got the various athletic directors of Manila schools to form the NCAA. Yet eight years later, three schools – NU, UP, and UST broke ranks over a series of disagreements. They formed a tournament that eventually became the UAAP.

The UAAP grew into prominence when it accepted two refugees from the NCAA, Ateneo in 1978, and La Salle later in 1986.

The league today now a massive success and a hot ticket with no signs of stopping.

However, with all the progresses and success, there came a slew of problems that I mentioned above.

I think that it is high time to review a lot of what goes on in the UAAP.

Earlier this year, I said in some of my statuses on social media that maybe it is time for Ateneo to explore leaving the UAAP. I now realize that it is a wrong statement to make. There are a lot of things to consider that I won’t go into detail. But first and foremost, an attempt to fix the problems of the league must be made. If they are still not yet corrected then maybe then we can really say, it’s time to go elsewhere.

It’s just a coincidence now but when the three schools – NU, UP, and UST -- bolted the NCAA, the man who led State U to a new pasture was a man named Candido Bartolome (who earned his degree in Physical Education from Springfield College in Massachusetts and is considered the ‘Father of Physical Education in the Philippines').

And today, in the midst of all this residency rule storm is Mikee Bartolome (a distant relative of Prof. Candido Bartolome).

Are there winds of change coming?

Vic and Mikee Bartolome with Sen. Pia Cayetano after the filing of the complaint against the UAAP.


  1. On your point on the thrice to beat advantange, I think it is a 1-0 lead in a best of five, or at least that is what happened in volleyball two seasons ago

  2. If the 2-year residency rule replaced the one-year residency rule then doesn't that mean the one-year residency rule no longer exists (also illogical to think that both of them can exist because the former encompasses the latter)? So Mikee is still eligible through the TRO and the UAAP can't revert back to a rule that no longer exists because then they would be making (or bringing back) a "new" rule in the middle of the season. Bakit ba ayaw magpatalo ng mga to?

    1. Apparently, that's the kind of reasoning which the Board lacks. Pilosopo nga eh. But you are right in your assessment.

    2. Maybe they thought it was unfair for those student-athletes who served the intial 1 year residency?

  3. UAAP: Pugad nga mga Putangina

  4. Di abogado pero nakakintindiSeptember 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Ganito lang yan: sa kasakiman para parusahan yong mga 'balimbing', gumawa ng bagong rule. Di alam na na supersede nila yong luma sa kanilang poot. Ng ma tro yong bagong batas, kambyo ang mga walang alam at tinawag ang lumang rule na kanilang madaliang pinalitan (at pinawalng saysay at lakas) sa ngalan ng paghihiganti. Nang makita nila yong kamalian nila at baka mahabla pa silang lalo, ayun, boykotin nyo na lang yan lol

    tsk tsk, dlsu at ust, kaya pala kayo pangatlo at pang-apat lang sa global world standards ng lahat ng eskwela sa buong Pilipinas. And guess which are 1-2? Tsk tsk tsk

  5. "the rule 'supersedes' the one-year residency rule." tama ka anonymous. wala nang residency rule 'temporarily' dapat. like i've always said let them pick their schools and let them play! -KP

  6. The controversy in swimming started when Bartolome filed a case against UAAP and UST in court. They should have followed the UAAP rules instead of hauling their case in court which only made matters worst. Bartolome did not raise a howl when his elder daughter was not allowed to swim last year because of the same residency rule. When the UAAP board promulgated these rules, it gives us the impression that the member schools have given their vote of approval of it. The UAAP board should amend their rules if need be and once and for all, be firm in the implementation of their own rules.
    Of course, other student athletes who have been affected by the residency rule but who opted to follow it just the same, would feel disgusted and betrayed even. No wonder the Bartolome sisters are now bearing the grunt of their fellow swimmers. It's the father's fault actually. Ask the swimming community and you'll know why

    1. tama po...ask the swimming community...negativity on every if wala po kau sa swimming community you will never understand such emotions against Bartolome family. bow po ako sa matapang na comments nyo!

    2. Unfortunately, the issue is not how the swimming community feels. If the Bartolomes had a venue to gripe the previous year they would. It is only now that one presented itself. If the others didn't think about going to court then that is their own lookout.

  7. it is not the same residency rule. with the elder bartolome is the 1 year soc rivera rule. for the younger bartolome, its the new 2 year rule that replaced the old 1 year rule. effectively the old 1 year soc rivera rule no longer exists so the UAAP cant say it can go back to that. but above all this is that TRO seeks to review even the constitutionality of having a residency rule for students moving from one high school to another college where the student already graduated from that high school.

    this is not similar to decades old 1 year residency rule when an athlete moves from 1 college to another college...

  8. Bottomline is: residency requirement must only be applicable to college to college transfers. The student athlete needs adjustments under the circumstances. To impose the same rationale on a freshman college coming from a different high school is not a rational rule. One, it infringes on the student's choice. Two, it's too presumptive to think he'll need adjustment in the new environment. Now if the reasoning is more of to (en)force loyalty and tenure in the same school from high school to college and to prevent brawn, brain, skill drain and migration from one school to another, and to maximize a school's investment in the athlete...then those and three, are just punitive in nature. It's self serving. Any rule that is self-serving and punitive is never a good rule.

    Soc Rivera had for a long time been that kind of rule. The thing is, it didn't force loyalty (to Feu in particular) among the student athletes. So much so that when another bolted out, they had to give this rule more teeth. Make it 2 rather than just 1 year residency. And no more release clause. It took a senate inquiry for the board to soften up on the release clause but not on the residency. If that isn't (more) punitive, than what else is? I mean, how much longer does the student need to be able to academically adjust? If another star athlete bolts out from one school to another, would the board raise the residency to yet another year? 3 years? There will be no end to the madness.

    Now that someone had spoken against it and won legally, and with no recourse left after its own appeal was denied, the Uaap (well probably the 6 who embraced the mad rule to begin with) resorted to boycotting events! And don't tell us they didn't instigate it. It reeks of 'you have our blessing' no matter how you look at it. If your athletes refuse to play in their sports, wouldn't you reprimand them? Unless you're a party and you subscribe to their 'cause', of course you will. You have to. You're not getting your investments (by way of scholarships) worth. Now you are talking of return on investments. But "they can very well think for themselves. They have minds of their own. We can't tell them otherwise." Funny, that's what that ex-Rivera now Pinggoy rule seemed to have exactly curtailed and punished to begin with --- the student athlete's free will and right to choose. And the student-athletes now protesting didn't think of that. Can you really honestly say that they have minds of their own? The irony of it all.

  9. Don't cross the wise and enlightened. One is a pillar. And the other brings in the revenue. Boy, how I love to see UAAP back in its old "baduy" times.

  10. The Ncaa was once high and almighty too. Boy, how I love to see the old "baduy" times of the Uaap. That will be the day lol

  11. GREED... that is the bottomline of the problem.

    Everyone from UAAP board, the different schools, management team of the university, the athletes family and the athletes themselves are now showing this trait. UAAP boards wants to hoard ratings vis-à-vis earn profit. Schools want that championship sooo much they even invent new courses even providing "special" programs for these athletes. Athletes family looking at the financial treats such as scholarship, allowance, room and meals and what have you (BRIBES). Athletes wanting popularity and perks (all the ads for these kids I just find astonishing) and a easy ride in college. God many of them even post the freebies (YES I'm pertaining to the NIKE people and the players such as Kiefer, Teng brothers, etc. SHOULDN'T they be banned since these are forms of payments/bribes) that they get such as shoes and what have you.

    I yearn to see one school just abide by the rules. No one offering perks. Student should pass the entrance exam and not be given special treatment. Since we are pinoys prioritize those scholarships to the locals. Student-athletes really having a COURSE (Engineering, Management, Architecture, Pre-Law, Pre-Med, Journalism and not those Inter Studies/Sports Management thingie) Parents looking for the welfare of their kids. Kids really wanting a COLLEGE education and hopefully do not get caught up with the perks (I shake my head everytime I see them post the freebies that they get... you should RETURN them if you are a real DECENT person and was raised well by your parents. PAY for them that's the REAL WORLD). A UAAP board that should look after the STUDIES of their athletes and not purely the sport administration.

    It's saddening coz SPORT is something that should not show this characteristic.
    Its a cycle that would be hard to stop.
    in pinoy parlance... NAKAIN na ng SYSTEMA.
    the PURENESS of the game has been lost.

  12. Mali ang 2-year residency rule. We have existing jurisprudence regarding scholarships and the tone is that these should be rewards for achievements of students and not to glorify the schools. If the school spent so much resources on them, they're not suppose to cash in at some future time. Gantimpala ang scholarships, hindi investments.

    On the other hand, why did the dad also use the TRO to obtain exemption from the 1 year residency rule? It is a sound rule which was adopted from the US NCAA. Napaka-unfair naman sa maraming players na sumunod sa rule. Too many to mention, in fact. Perhaps, legally speaking, he can get away with it as the rule has already been superseded. Nonetheless, kaunting fairness naman sana. Delicadeza. Ganyan na ba tayo ngayon sa sports, como may kapangyarihan (backing of the courts), maglalamangan na?

    1. US NCAA rule na 1 year residency ay para sa college transferries hindi para sa college freshmen na "lumipat" sa university na di affiliated sa hs nung bata. once you graduated sa hs tapos na ang duties mo sa school na yun.

      tungkol dun sa fairness, wala na yung one year "Soc Rivera rule". My point ka sa nafeel nun mga sumunod sa rule na 1 year but di na siya nag-eexist. kung itong TRO ang way para mapatunayan na yung 2 year residency rule for "transferring" college freshmen ay kalokohan lang so be it. Problema satin para maging "fair" ay imbis na tutulong tayo sa cause ay sasabihin natin na dapat madanasan din nila ang hirap nila mala revenge style.

    2. Yes boss, I am aware that the NCAA rules on residency apply only to college transferees. The purpose, nonetheless, as implemented in our UAAP, is the same. Para yun maiwasan ang "raiding" ng teams. UST is a UAAP school. Ok lang, I suppose, kung iyung bata na walang gustong i-serve na kahit anong residency, ay galing sa non-UAAP school. Pananaw ko lang. Pasensiya na,

      I am glad na on the same boat tayo sa 2 year residency rule. Mali talaga iyun kasi parang ginawang investment ang bata. Sa lahat ng gagawing subject of commerce, bata pa ang napili nila. Medyo exploitation ang dating sa akin.

      As regards the "Soc Rivera Rule" wala tayong problema sa effectivity noon. Kakampihan pa kita sa paniwalang superseded na 'yun. Just the same, 'di ba tama parin na magka-residency rule as justified above? Kung by legalities puwede nila 'yun i-ignore, sana naman they took it upon themselves to observe the old rule na lang for the sake of delicadeza. Kung pati 'yun ayaw nila i-observe, parang sinabi narin nila na lahat ng residency rules ay mali. Ang pagawa ng tama, higit pa sa karapatan na ibinigay ng batas, ay dapat naaayon sa ating konsensiya. Of course, kung sa paniwala noong ama na lahat ng residency rules ay hindi makatarungan, and I hope he does not flinch when the one involved is not a child of his, nasa kanya na iyon.

      Maraming salamat at napaka-sane mong kausap. Mga iba nauuna ang mura.

  13. What's next? A 2-year residency rule for transferees from a UAAP grade school to another?

    Pingoy wanted to go to Ateneo because he'll benefit more from that school than in FEU. Mikee chose UP because UP is a better school than UST (duh). Ateneo and UP are the dream schools of many students, other schools should just accept the fact.

    1. Is that original thought or plagiarized?

  14. Acquiesce. A nasty word. For those who don't know what it means, maybe you're one of those who support the sentiments of the protesters and boycotters.

  15. May isang pulis na kotong ng kotong sa mga drayber sa simula 50 pesos lang. So bigay lang ng bigay ang mga drayber. Walang reklamo. Noong taasan ng pulis yong tong sa 100, okay parin sa lahat pwera lang sa isang bagong drayber na nagreklamo at nabawalan yong pulis sa kakakotong. Ok naman sa pulis na wag na siya mangotong ng 100. Balik na lang sa 50. Pero di nya makokotongan yong reklamador na drayber dahil may pagbabawal na. Imbes na suportahan yong pangkalahatang kabutihan ng mga drayber, e nag-boycott na lang lahat ng drayber dahil unfair naman na nakotongan na sila noong nakaraan. Gusto nila, makotongan din yong isang drayber tulad nila (imbes na ipaglaban kung ano ang tama). Ganyan klase ng pag-iisip ang tinuturo sa ilang Unibersidad ngayon.