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UAAP opening may be pushed early next year due to COVID-19

By Kristel Satumbaga







It looks like UAAP is going to hold its next season in the first quarter of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the sporting world since March.

While the Board is weighing various options, last season’s President Em Fernandez of Ateneo said opening the 83rd season on the usual athletic calendar in September is already far-fetched.

“Malabo na yun,” he said.

While the league is a private entity, Fernandez said they are still guided by the provisions of the government regarding the global health crisis.

At the moment, the Inter-Agency Task Force still prohibits contact and team sports, with only swimming, tennis, badminton, golf, equestrian and skateboarding allowed.

The Department of Education also announced that face-to-face classes can begin at Aug. 24 at the earliest, giving a small window of preparation for student-athletes.

Fernandez said it still early for the Board to decide, adding that they are continuously monitoring the situation.

“Right now, our only concern is on how to make it work,” he said. “It’s still early to decide, but so far, all schools are keen on having that schedule (early next year).”

“We are also dependent on what the government says, on what is allowed.”

The global health crisis also affected the second semester of season 82 early this year with its cancellation including the centerpiece sport of volleyball, which was originally set last February.

Sports have been hit badly by the pandemic, causing events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be rescheduled next year while the NBA was shut down also last March and so were major soccer events in Europe.

In the local scene, the Philippine Sports Commission has cancelled all grassroots program for the remainder of the year while the PBA was suspended after only one playing game almost three months ago.

NCAA, the country’s oldest collegiate league, is also reportedly inclined to start its new season early next year.