• Past Perfect: UAAP History
 
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One is as strong as its beginnings. One thing can be characterized by the struggles and victories it has undergone throughout the years. UAAP, our league, will not be this phenomenal and prestigious, if it had not been realized and if it had not conquered its struggles.

from uaapgames.com

It was the summer of 1924 that Dr. Regino Ylanan, who was then the Physical Education Director of the University of the Philippines (UP), saw the need to regulate and set athletic policies among tertiary institutions of the era. Thus, as an invitation was issued to private schools in Manila to organize an athletic association. Several institutions namely the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Manila University, National University (NU), De La Salle College, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Institute of Accounts (now Far Eastern University) responded to the invitation. One week after its initial meeting, it formally adopted a constitution and by-laws calling itself the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

For six years, the NCAA provided the venue for interscholastic athletic competitions among its members. The universities however dominated the events probably due to its larger student populations. In 1930, the NCAA Board of Directors decided to file papers of incorporation with the then Bureau of Commerce. With such a motion, the UP, being the only public institution among the member schools, felt that this would lead to commercialization. NU and the UST shared the same sentiments.

Prior the start of the 1930-1931 NCAA Season, Prof. Candido C. Bartolome of the UP requested that the three universities (NU, UP and UST) be allowed to conduct a triangular meet. The NCAA board gave its approval on condition that NCAA scheduled events would take precedence over the use of sports facilities. The three universities agreed with Mr. Dionisio D. Calvo of the UST, Mr. Leon G. Tirol of NU and Prof. Candido C. Bartolome of the UP (all Directors of Physical Education) signing the Article of Agreement. They experimented with a home to home format whereby games were played at the three campuses.

The Big 3 as it was called became a success and on April 6, 1932, its Article of Agreement was renewed. It was also during this time that these three universities seceded from the NCAA. The big 3 continued for the next six years until the Board of Directors of the UP Alumni Association suggested to then UP President Jorge C. Bocobo that a new inter university athletic be instituted. Having taken initiative, first with the NCAA and then with the Big 3, it was only natural that the UP again take the reins of leadership to organize a university athletic association. The representatives of the three universities together with the Far Eastern University which was already dominating the sports scene of the period, met at the PAAF Office. They formally organized the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) on September 27, 1938.

The first sports events were basketball, women's volleyball, baseball, football, swimming, and track and field. UP won titles in baseball, track and field. UST took the titles in football and swimming, while FEU won the basketball event.

As the organizer, UP representatives, Dr. Antonio G. Sison and Bartolome were the first officers (president and secretary-treasurer, respectively) of the UAAP. To give the member universities the opportunity to train in the conduct and management of athletic events, Prof. Bartolome suggested that hosting the UAAP be done rotation. This was unanimously approved and lots were drawn for the order of rotation. The result was as follows: UST - FEU - NU. It was also agreed that the position of Vice-President from succeeding host university be created. The Vice President would therefore learn on the job.

From 1938 onwards, the UAAP has been running athletic events. It was only in 1941 during the outbreak of the war that there was a temporary halt in its activities. In 1952, other universities were admitted to the association to encourage more competition. The University of the East (UE) was admitted on probation on March 29, 1952. On May 5 also of the same year, Adamson University (AdU), University of Manila, and the Manila Central University followed suit. Of the four new applicants, only two, AdU and the UE attained permanent status. The last two members admitted to the UAAP were Ateneo de Manila University in 1978 and De La Salle University in 1986.

In its past 63 years of existence, the UAAP has provided student-athletes with quality competitions. Fostering camaderie and sportsmanship will always be its main objective. Due to well conducted competitions, talented athletes have attracted interest from national sports associations. Some actually join national teams. Outstanding athletes on the other hand have been given opportunities to participate in international competitions on a university level, namely the Universiad and just recently, the ASEAN University Games.

The UAAP started with the UP as the host University. It is only fitting that the UP closed the 20th century also as its host. In a tribute to the mascots of the member universities, a dance especially choreographed by premier dance choreographer Douglas Arthur P. Nierras entitled "Bigyan Katuparan, 'Sang Kalikasan" was presented during the 63rd Opening Ceremonies on July 10, 1999 at the Philsports MultiArena.

The UAAP soared into greater heights with the advent of change in broadcast of the games. Newly-installed Studio 23 was given the rights to televise the men's basketball games at the start of the new millenium. UST hosted this season.

In 2005, UAAP further the cause of the other sports in the program as the volleyball playoffs were also televised in the said station. The following year, the regular season games of the said sport was televised on the second semester. Beach volleyball also became be a demonstration sport; and in lieu of volleyball, judo and taekwondo were started to be played during the first semester. In 2007, beach volleyball became an official sport, thus, was added to the overall championship tally. In the league's 76th season (2013), the discipline of poomsae in the sport of taekwondo was added as an official UAAP championship. The said discipline has a mixed pair category; hence, poomsae became the first coed discipline to become a regular event.

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