Ricci Rivero’s Residency and the SAPA

by: Mickey Ingles (Photo c/o Ricci Rivero’s Twitter account)

It looks like the “Where will Ricci Rivero go?” saga is over.

With his transfer to the University of the Philippines (UP), the former De La Salle University (DLSU) stand-out has finally found a home in Diliman. Ever since he had revealed he wasn’t going to suit up for the Archers a few months back because of endorsement issues, tons of rumors circulated as to where he’d end up next. His Twitter announcement that “there was no place to go but UP” has finally put an end to months of speculation.

The start of his playing career with the Maroons will have to wait though, at least for a year. Current University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Rules require transferees to undertake a 1-year residency period before suiting up for their new schools. This means we’ll have to wait until 2019 or UAAP Season 82 to see the guard euro-stepping his way past defenses in a maroon jersey.

As per UAAP Rules, if a student transfers from a UAAP school to another UAAP school, the residency year counts as a playing year. Interestingly, this rule doesn’t apply to transferees from non-UAAP schools. This means Ricci will only have two years left to play for UP, as he has already played two years for DLSU.

The UAAP 1-year residency period rule complies with the Student-Athlete Protection Act or the SAPA (which we discussed in our very first article!). The SAPA allows athletic associations to impose residency periods for transferees, as long as these periods don’t exceed a year, so the UAAP 1-year residency period falls squarely with that.

When it comes to the “counts-as-a-playing-year” rule though, the SAPA is particularly silent; it doesn’t elaborate how athletic associations can or should treat the residency periods. Since the implementing rules and regulations have yet to be issued to fill in the details of the law (it’s been three years!), athletic associations are given leeway on how to treat these residency periods. And the UAAP did just that.

In any case, it’ll be exciting to see how this new chapter in Ricci’s career plays out. For one, it has given Philippine sports law enthusiasts a chance to see the SAPA in action.

Mickey Ingles is the editor-in-chief of Batas Sportiva. As far as basketball skills are concerned, his name rhymes with Ricci—that’s about it.

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