Canceled before it could even start

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    CITING the safety and health of athletes as top priorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAAP last Friday officially scrapped its 83rd season.

    “The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) announces the cancellation of its 83rd season,” the league said in a statement.

    “After a series of discussions, the UAAP Board of Trustees came to this difficult decision, putting major consideration on the health and safety of the student-athletes and those involved in the operations of our competitions.”

    It was the first time the UAAP cancelled a season since World War II from 1941 to 1946.

    The league called off the remainder of the 82nd season last April at the start of the government-imposed quarantine measures to curb the contagion and initially planned last June to have a full calendar next year.

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag said if the return to training of collegiate squads gets the green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases this month and a tournament approval will follow, the league intends to launch its new season, set to be hosted by La Salle, in April 2021 under a bubble-set up and possibly with only the centerpiece sports such as basketball and volleyball.

    With the country’s pandemic woes still having no end in sight, however, the UAAP deemed it best to call off its next season.

    La Salle will still be the host if and when the 84th season pushes through.

    The league said it will continue discussions moving forward.

    “The decision will allow UAAP member-schools to plan their activities for the remainder of the academic year, as well as their athletic programs for next season,” the statement said.

    “Both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Managing Directors will further discuss the implications of the cancellation for the guidance of the member-schools and student-athletes.”