Trouble in the Busting bubble

Under the whole UAAP bubble fiasco, the bright future of the UST Growling Tigers basketball athletes was shattered as a consequence of Coach Ayo’s desperation to conduct training in his home province, Sorsogon.

/ 23 September 2020

Last August the España-based squad was caught in the infringement of quarantine protocols, making them the hottest topic in the whole sports industry. Despite the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the obscurity of training still pushed through.

The bubble controversy made the headlines with former Growling Tiger skipper CJ Casino’s sudden exit. He acted as a whistleblower where he leaked the screenshots from their group chat with details of the athletes’ concerns on lackluster food accommodations and overall health situations while training in Sorsogon. Screenshots were posted on his social media account, which he shortly deleted. UST fell to a lot more trouble when multiple agencies like the IATF, Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) came to investigate the said bubble.

Not long after, the waiver signed by the athletes and their legal guardian surfaced online flaring up the talked Sorsogon training. The document became proof that the training happened. With the university having taken responsibility and proper safeguarding of the welfare of its student-athletes, the bubble should not have happened in the first place.  

Weeks have passed after the burst and the IATF still has not given the public update about the result of the investigation. As well as what possible sanction Coach Ayo will take in the brawl of his violation of health and safety protocols.

More drama episodes came as Ayo hands over his resignation as UST Growling Tigers’ head coach in advance to the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) decision to ban him from the league, venues, and events that involves the UAAP.

As the issue drags progress in the investigation by IATF, other players continue to exit the Tiger’s den and decide to join other Universities amid the controversy initiated by Coach Ayo. The irresponsibility of the Coaches and the institutions halted the supposed continuing saga of the UST growling tigers as one of UAAP’s powerhouse.

Because of Ayo’s sudden exit as UST’s head tactician, the country’s most prized collegiate leagues like UAAP and National College Athletics Association (NCAA) should give a harsher penalty to those involved in the bubble. And mark their exodus from UST as an aggravating circumstance.

This time, it is clear that the future of these athletes will ponderously die down. A one-year residency before they are allowed to play again in either court of UAAP or NCAA will have a tremendous impact on the career of these athletes. But that is how it should be, no one should be exempted or freed from the penalty for violating the law. Although it should be noted that these ballers were only caught in the grand scheme of Ayo’s bubble.

In Ayo’s case, a lifetime ban on UAAP, NCAA, PBA, and other amateur and professional leagues is enough as retaliation for his recklessness of bringing risk on health and safety as well as putting adversity on the athletes’ future.

There are a lot of people who violated the IATF guidelines and protocols, some were confined behind bars, charged with lawsuits, and others were fined. Yet, Ayo made no difference to those who previously broke the said guidelines. Whether someone is watching or not, we should be responsible to heed the current health situation and follow the government restrictions

Famous or not, we should not tolerate those who are privileged to be exempted from the enforcement of the law. This is why there is no reason that Ayo should get an easy pass on the controversy that happened. Afterall as Roosevelt says, no man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it.