Inflation and then some: Theories on UAAP Cheerdance Competition cash prize cuts

November 17, 2018 - 4:52 PM
The winning NU Pep Squad routine
The NU Pep Squad bags another first place win at the 2018 UAAP Cheerdance Competition on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Interaksyon/Uela Badayos)

(Updated, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.) What makes cheerleading squads of the country’s biggest universities work so hard choreographing and rehearsing routines all year long? You could say it’s about school spirit and pride, pursuit for excellence in the sport and that prize money.

Except this year, that last item should be a much smaller factor.

The yearly UAAP Cheerdance Competition is one of the most high-profile dancing matches around, dangling the biggest cash prizes for the sport.

Last year’s grand champions, the Adamson Pep Squad, took home P340,000 in cash besides sponsor-given goodies. First runner-up University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe got P200,000 in 2017, while the University of the East Pep Squad bagged P140,000 for ranking third.

For 2018, however, talented university cheerleaders will compete over a much reduced set of cash prizes:

UAAP Cheerdance 2018 prizes
Twitter user @comeletsjonats took a screenshot of the cash prizes for this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition.

Students, alumni and fans of the universities usually express support for their squads on social media and, well, trash talk attempt to intimidate rival teams with memes and observations.

As expected, the smaller prizes for the winners did not escape their attention. Here are some of their hilarious theories on why this happened:

1. Inflation

The country’s record-breaking inflation rate in recent months may have affected the organizers’ capacity to come up with amounts equal or higher than last year’s.

2. Typographical error

Whoever typed the amounts may have left out the zeroes.

3. Lack of donors

This is a much more reasonable theory. The much awaited cheering tiff may have lost big-time funders who could have boosted the cash prizes.

Other theories

The theories were not just limited to why the cash prizes have seen a contraction this year. Viewers also jokingly attributed perceived shortcomings of the performers to the smaller prizes.

(Note: De La Salle University’s pep squad did join the competition.)

Pride over prize

Many of the fans pointed out that the squads’ preparation, props and outfits could have cost them more than the potential cash prize.

But whatever the reason was for the prize cuts, the contestants could put value in representing their schools and inspiring a sense of pride and support for their teams.

UAAP exec gives an answer

Rebo Saguisag, executive director of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, addressed the questions about the smaller cheerdance content prize.

In a statement over the weekend, Saguisag explained that a bulk of the funds that would have comprised the prizes for the main competition had already been distributed among the eight cheer squads prior to the big day:

“On substantive grounds, the Cheerdance Grant is supposedly for the benefit of the cheerdance programs of ALL member-universities. A bigger chunk is now distributed among the 8 member schools instead of focusing on the top 3 finishers.”

“It is likewise a move more consistent with the mission of the UAAP to promote amateur sports among the students of the member universities where primary motivation is the pursuit of school pride instead of monetary gain.

“It is a reminder that in the UAAP, you do not always have to finish first, in order to WIN.”