NCAA opens Season 96 for sake of continuity

FILE – Peter Cayco. Photo by Tristan Tamayo /

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will try to save a pandemic-stricken 96 season it will unveil on June 17 under extraordinary circumstances. The games will take place primarily online.

The season will only last until September and officials are hoping it will serve as a “springboard for the 97 season,” slated for later in the year.

“We call it continuity,” said management committee head Peter Cayco d’Arellano, host of last year’s season that was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cayco said it will not be just a “ceremonial season” as live matches will take place and traditional opening ceremonies will be held, albeit pre-arranged by the GMA Network television channel. “We want a seamless transition from season 95 to season 96 and then season 97,” Cayco said.

Head of the steering committee, Fr Vic Calvo, of host Letran, said they were trying to “take every opportunity” to organize the competition amid security restrictions.

“We want to show our resilience and our creativity,” Calvo said. “It’s a difficult situation and not normal, so we have to adapt. We cannot give up. The few games that will be successful are chess and taekwondo (poomsae), both of which can be played online as evidenced by the tournaments organized by the chess and taekwondo federations since last year.

Fan favorite basketball and volleyball events will also be played, although a format for the games has yet to be finalized.

Previous reports indicated that both sports could be limited to skills events so that they could also be played online.

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