NCAA import ban

By Henry Liao July 03,2018
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NCAA import ban

By Henry Liao July 03,2018
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THE National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently announced that it would enforce the ban on all foreign athletes or so-called “imports” starting in Season 96 (2020-21).
Approve. But it’s too long a time yet. Make it a year from now.
Last week, I was able to catch an interview by CNN PH of an import from a leading NCAA school.
Three things he said caught my attention as they make no sense to right-thinking sports fans (hey, they ain’t stupid man!).
1. You said you came here as a student to study, and presumably to play ball on the side, and hope to graduate and find work here or elsewhere. A student-athlete you would want to call yourself. Fine, if only to give you the benefit of the doubt.
But how come all the imports in college ball are as tall and muscular as you are, if their top priority is really to study? Is there a shortage of foreign students of average height who can play ball? At the least, you are an athlete-student and not a student-athlete.
This was the same import who earlier told a local sports website that it was unfair to ban his peers because it would prevent them not to complete their studies. How twisted his mind is.
Who told you that you can’t continue and finish your schooling here because of the ban? What is being banned is your playing for the school. Those are two different matters. Because of what you said, it reinforces my thinking that collegiate imports are mostly basketball mercenaries and disoriented athlete-students. Don’t muddle the real issue.
2. Big Fella, you said the collegiate imports actually help the local cagers with their presence. Okay, you are God’s gift to local basketball, salamat hah. You cited the case of biggie Raymond Almazan. Yes, oh yes, he somehow improved because his college team Letran did not have an import during his time and Knights coach Louie Alas gave him all the playing exposure and he, indeed, responded well.
You also cited the case of Calvin Abueva from San Sebastian College, who excelled in playing against teams with imports. Fine. But how many Abuevas are there that have benefited from your presence? Did he simply improve because you imports are here? What about the many teams that play their imports 35 minutes a game and leave the crumbs to the local big men? Are we to be thankful for your presence?
Think hard. If you are claiming the presence of imports was of tremendous help then how come the country has not become a world champion in the four decades that you have invaded our shores? And if the inclusion of imports was the reason why our bigs have improved then how come we still don’t have a single big man in the NBA?
3. Big Fella, you also said that if Kobe Paras, a Filipino, can play in America, why can’t foreigners do so in the Philippines? Globalization at first look it seemed, but there’s a lot of difference in the two cases.
In the States, there are around 450 schools in the NCAA Division I. In the local NCAA there’s only 10.
In the US NCAA, all athletes are given only scholarships and nothing more. No financial support allowed. No free lodging or tutorship. No transportation allowance, let alone a loan to buy a car. They all are prohibited. A simple $10 loan from the school or a school booster for mobile phone load is already a violation. (You want to accuse the US NCAA of being greedy or even corrupt but that’s another story. We are talking about the current state of the US NCAA here.)
Mr. Import, can you honestly say that you are not receiving any benefits – in cash or in kind – from the school? Please tell it straight to our faces and, not to the Marines (with due respect to them), that all you are getting from your school is a scholarship.
And for the record, too, Paras never improved in the States. For how could you do so if you don’t have playing time there? Here, imports like you are given most of the minutes that relegate homegrown big men to the bench.
I had hoped that the CNN PH interviewer was more probing, if not more cerebral, in his questions to the import. I was terribly disappointed.
Now that there is a no-import policy in the NCAA, the next move is for the UAAP to make.
* * *
I will have second thoughts on the NCAA ban on imports ONLY IF all imports are like Kirk Long.
Long’s size did not matter to Ateneo (have not seen a short import for a long time, have you? Why does an import have to be very tall if his studies were his or the school’s No. 1 priority?)
Long was foremost a student then an athlete. That’s why he left the Loyola Heights campus with a degree that worked to his benefit in the real world that is outside of basketball-playing.
Long live Long wherever you are now. You were a legitimate student-athlete during your heyday, and not the other way around nowadays.

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