Not my tempo: Students, sports fans beat up UAAP’s new drum policy

August 29, 2018 - 2:10 PM
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Cheering squad drummers have been a staple in student athletics in the Philippines. A new rule by the UAAP seeks to limit their presence this coming varsity season. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Fans of the member schools of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines are rallying against a new league rule cutting down the number of pep squad drummers allowed to play during games.

Student athletic organizations and cheering squads decried the new rule, which will limit the number of pep squad drums to two snares and one bass drum.

Three snare drummers and five bass drummers were allowed to play during games at larger venues such as the Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena in the previous seasons.

While the UAAP has yet to publicize the rule, a number of student organizations have announced receiving word of the new rule and have shared their thoughts on the matter.

The student councils of the Far Eastern University and University of the East Manila Campus were among the first to release statements on the restriction. Both underscored how the drummers worked just as hard as the universities’ varsity teams and were already part of a longstanding tradition at the games.

Those crying out against the new rule have argued that the policy will go against a culture and tradition that has been recognized for years and which is unfair to the schools’ hardworking cheering squads.

Some shared footage of the pep drummers in action to show why they have become an important part of student athletics in the country.

Some former drummers shared the grueling routine they underwent just to lead their schools in cheering the athletes.

Some have also criticized the ratio of snare drums to bass drums imposed, explaining that pep squads typically follow a set formula to achieve their purpose.

One drummer explained that aside from creating hype and setting the atmosphere at the venue, the primary objective for drummers was to lead the pep squads during cheers.

Aside from setting the beat for crowd cheers, pep squad drummers in the UAAP traditionally stage occasional drumline performances during the half-time break of basketball games.

There were plans to include a formal drumline competition similar to those held in some U.S athletics meets in previous UAAP seasons.

The UAAP as of this writing has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

Season 81 host school National University previously announced a number of changes, including the rescheduling of a number of events and the introduction of a new rulebook for basketball officiating.

The UAAP Season 81 opening ceremony will be held on September 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena and will feature musical performances from Korean pop group Momoland and OPM act Sponge Cola.