WHILE SPORTS continue to take a hit amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) is choosing to go against the tide by keeping the scholar-athletes in its fold.

In a recent release, CSB said it is committed to honoring the incentives it has for deserving students representing the school in different intercollegiate sports competitions.

It comes on the heels of the pronouncement of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to cut its events for Season 96 in light of the restrictions across the board brought about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Targeted to start early next year, NCAA Season 96 will only showcase four mandatory sports, namely, basketball, volleyball, track and field, and swimming.

CSB said that apart from their teams in said sports, it will continue to throw its support to the college’s other remaining NCAA teams, to include football, taekwondo, chess, lawn or soft tennis, table tennis, beach volleyball, and badminton.

Also included in the lineup are the players in non-NCAA events fencing and arnis, for a total of 250 scholar-athletes.

The college’s Athletic Recruit Grant bestowed to students who are athletically skilled to represent Benilde waives partial to full tuition and miscellaneous fees, such as recollection, retreat and graduation payments. It likewise provides possible additional monthly allowances, and for those residing outside of Metro Manila, dormitory privileges.

But to give priority to the current athletes, Benilde said it has suspended its recruitment until further notice.

Stephen Fernandez, Benilde Center for Sports Development Director, said that while conditions right now are difficult, the college’s mission continues.

“We made a commitment to the athletes and their families and we remain true to its mission of faith, service and communion,” he said.

The institution likewise ensured the health and safety of the student-athletes who were stranded at the five-story Sports and Dorm Building during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) by providing their accommodation as well as their daily meals and medical checkups.

“We will continue to guide our student athletes while online training and conditioning would be an option. We will also wait for the guidelines as to how the events will be played in the NCAA this 2021,” Mr. Fernandez said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo