Student-athletes’ fate hang in the air

With the new school year looming on the horizon, the fate of student-athletes of the member schools of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) hang in the balance.

In a recent webinar hosted by the Sport Management Council of the Philippines, Inc., long-time league commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy said that in as much as he recommended to the school owners the retention of all the student-athletes in spite of the cancellation of the 2020 season of the Cesafi, the final decision to do so still rests on their shoulders.

“As you know, schools are losing a lot of money because of COVID-19. Most of the schools are experiencing decrease in enrolment, perhaps anywhere from 30 to 50% decrease. The past three months, schools have not generated any income but have continued to subsidize the salaries of faculty and staff,” said Tiukinhoy in the webinar that was attended by different sports officials and athletes from leagues across the country.

“When we announced the cancellation of the season, I asked all the school owners to consider retaining the scholarships of the student athletes but it’s up to the school owners,” he added.

Tiukinhoy, who has been at the helm of the Cesafi since its inception two decades ago, said he fears that those schools that don’t have solid sports programs in place might be left with no choice but to let go of their student-athletes.

“The schools that have an established sports program may continue to retain the student-athletes. Those that don’t have a solid one in place, I would venture to say they might let go of the student athletes. There is the possibility that some of the student-athletes might transfer to other schools that can maintain sports programs,” Tiukinhoy said.

While a lot of things sports-related remain up in the air, Tiukinhoy was quick to remind student-athletes that with sports indefinitely shelved, they should take the time to focus on academics.

“It’s a long way to go before next season but as far as the student athletes are concerned, I told them to be students and continue their studies. Having a scholarship means they have to study and finish a degree. Being an athlete is just a way for you to go to college,” he shared. (JNP)