The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), established in 1938 is a sports association of eight universities in the Philippines. Each year, teams from universities play in 15 sports.
In 1924, Dr. Regino Ylanan (then University of the Philippines Physical Education Director) saw the need to regulate and set general athletic policies; meets with representatives of University of Santo Tomas, Manila Central University, National University, De La Salle College, Ateneo de Manila and Institute of Accounts (now Far Eastern University) - to discuss possibilities of forming an athletic organization, which eventually became the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In 1930, the University of the Philippines sponsored an experimental meet with the first "Big 3" league (UST, NU, UP) on basketball, swimming, baseball, relays, track and field, volleyball, tennis and soccer.
In 1931, NCAA Board of Directors divides the meet into three divisions to put competition on a fairer basis and to stimulate athletics among a greater number.
In March 1932, UP, UST and NU formally secede from the NCAA, (the most prestigious and popular athletic league during that time) Led by UP's Candido C. Bartolome, NU's Leon Tirol and UST's Fr. Silbestre Sancho, the move was made for three reasons: to put competitions on equal footing, to increase amateur athletic competitions and to separate the universities from the college members of the league. On April 6, the "Big 3 League" is born. On August 14, the "Big 3" Association is inaugurated with a meet that starts with basketball. Other events were swimming, baseball, relays, track and field, volleyball, tennis and soccer.
In 1935, UP did not participate in the "Big 3 League" because of mass intramurals at the state university. NU and UST hold the meet with FEU (formerly Institute of Accounts) taking UP's place.
In 1938, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association and the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF), then the highest sports body in the country, encourage the original "Big 3 League" and FEU to form a permanent sports association - the University Athletic Association of the Philippines. Events included were basketball, women's volleyball, baseball, football, swimming and track and field. UP bagged three titles (volleyball, baseball, track and field). UST was tops in football and swimming and FEU triumphed in basketball.
In 1941, the outbreak of World War II hindered the staging of the 1941-42 UAAP with UST failing to complete its term.
In 1946, UST hosted the 1946-47 UAAP Season.
In 1952, University of the East, University of Manila, Adamson University, and Manila Central University are granted two-year probationary membership to the UAAP.
In 1954, UE is permanently accepted into the league. The three universities (UM, Adamson, and MCU) were dropped from the UAAP due to their inability to comply with the UAAP requirements.
In 1970, Adamson University reapplies for admission to the league with a two-year probationary period.
In 1974, Adamson successfully hosts the 1974-75 athletic season paving the way for its permanent membership into the league.
In 1978, The UAAP admitted Ateneo de Manila University into the league.
In 1986, De La Salle University joined the league.
Through the years, the UAAP believes that total development does not solely depend on the academic growth of a person. It continues to draw its strength from the encouraging participation of the students making the UAAP a foundation truly fostering camaraderie and sportsmanship.
Following is a list of those universities with their team designations.
|Adamson University||Soaring Falcons||Lady Falcons||Baby Falcons||(no girls teams)||Private/Vincentian||1952*, 1970||17,389|
|Ateneo de Manila University||Blue Eagles||Lady Eagles||Blue Eaglets||(no girls teams)||Private/Jesuit||1978||11,465|
|De La Salle University-Manila||Green Archers||Lady Archers||(see juniors section, below)||Private/Lasallian||1986||13,628|
|Far Eastern University||Tamaraws||Lady Tamaraws||(see juniors section, below)||Private/Non-sectarian||1938||28,285|
|National University||Bulldogs||Lady Bulldogs||Bullpups||(no girls teams)||Private/Non-sectarian||1938||1,382|
|University of the East||Red Warriors||Lady Red Skirts||Pages||Lady Pages||Private/Non-sectarian||1952||13,257|
|University of the Philippines, Diliman||Fighting Maroons||Lady Maroons||(see juniors section, below)||Public/National||1938||21,788|
|University of Santo Tomas||Growling Tigers||Tigresses||(see juniors section, below)||Private/Dominican||1938||33,013|
* Withdrew in 1953, readmitted in 1970.
 Juniors' affiliate high schools
|De La Salle-Santiago Zobel School||Junior Archers||Lady Junior Archers||Private/Lasallian||1986|
|Far Eastern University - Nicanor Reyes Educational Foundation||Baby Tamaraws||(no girls teams)||Private/Non-sectarian||2005*|
|University of the Philippines Integrated School||Junior Maroons||Lady Junior Maroons||Public/National||1976|
|University of Santo Tomas High School||Tiger Cubs||Lady Tiger Cubs||Private/Dominican||1938|
*The defunct FEU Boys High School and FEU Girls High School represented FEU in the Juniors division before 2005. The two high schools were established in 1933.
Member universities compete in 15 sports. Basketball, being the most popular sport in the Philippines, is the most watched and most supported among all the sports.
All of these sports have Men's and Women's divisions, with the exception of baseball, in which only men participate, and softball, which is for women only. The following sports have a Junior division, in which the associated high schools of the universities participate: for both Boys' and Girls' (swimming and volleyball) and for Boys' only (chess, judo, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis, football (demo in Season 70), and track and field).
As of now, only four of the eight member universities participate in all sports, namely the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University-Manila, the University of the Philippines, and the University of Santo Tomas.
1st semester sports (July-October)
- Basketball (July - Araneta Coliseum, PhilSports Arena, and Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo de Manila University)
- Chess (August - Tan Yang Kee Student Center, University of Santo Tomas)
- Beach volleyball (September - UE Parade Ground, University of the East Caloocan)
- Judo (September - Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo de Manila University)
- Swimming (September - Trace Aquatics Centre, Laguna)
- Taekwondo (September - UST Gym, University of Santo Tomas)
- Table tennis (September - Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo de Manila University)
- Cheerdance (September - Araneta Coliseum)
2nd semester sports (November-March)
- Baseball (November - Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium)
- Football (November - Erenchun Field and Ocampo Field, Ateneo de Manila University)
- Softball (November - UST Grounds, University of Santo Tomas)
- Tennis (November - Rizal Memorial Tennis Center)
- Track and field (November - Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium)
- Volleyball (December - Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo de Manila University and The Arena, San Juan)
- Badminton (February - Club 650 Badminton Centre)
- Fencing (February - Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo de Manila University)
Ateneo-La Salle rivalry
Arguably the most storied interschool sports rivalry in the Philippines. No one is exactly sure how and when it started, leading to numerous urban legends about its origins.
This rivalry traces its roots to when both of these schools were still in the city of Manila before the NCAA even began. The Ateneo and UP players would play friendly basketball games in Intramuros, and it was at this point that the Ateneo de Manila formed the first cheering squad in the Philippines. Now dubbed as the "Battle of Katipunan" with their present location along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City.
Aptly called "The Battle of the East" due to the university names and location, both FEU and UE have dominated the basketball tournament, as shown by the number of trophies between them.
Ateneo HS-USTHS rivalry
The rivalry is usually seen in the juniors' division where in basketball, Ateneo de Manila and UST High School would always meet in the Finals. In Junior's Basketball, the Blue Eaglets and the Tiger Cubs met 8 consecutive times in the finals from 1994 to 2001, which resulted in the title being traded between the two schools every other year. The two schools also perform well in other sports, as their teams do not usually place lower than fourth in any given tournament.
UP-UST cheerdance rivalry
Since the inception of the UAAP cheerdance competition, UP and UST have had the best winning records, and one is usually just a runner up to the other. Both schools' pep squads are famous for their stunts and high-energy performances.
From 1964 to 1971, the UST Glowing Goldies met the UE Red Warriors eight times in the Final of the basketball tournament, with the Warriors winning seven encounters. It is the longest finals appearance between two teams in the UAAP. In 1967, the two teams were the co-champions of the UAAP.
La Salle-UST rivalry
Both were known for their numerous basketball championship matches in the 1990s, with UST winning four straight titles at the expense of the Green Archers. In 1999, La Salle defeated the Growling Tigers to win the basketball crown. Their basketball rivalry diminished in latter years due to UST's decline but became a celebrated rivalry in Women's Volleyball, as the Lady Archers and the Tigresses met three times in the championship of the Shakey's V-League tournament with both having 3 championships each under their belts. The rivalry was carried over to the UAAP.
On August 11, 2007, UST won their first men's basketball game against La Salle since Game 1 of the 1999 Finals to break UST's 17-game losing streak against the Archers.
La Salle-FEU rivalry
The rivalry sparked in the 1991 Finals when La Salle's final game win was protested by the FEU after a Green Archer was admitted into the playing court after being disqualified. The UAAP Board upheld the protest and ordered the replay. La Salle questioned the UAAP Board's decision upholding FEU's protest. FIBA and the BAP agreed with La Salle that it was the table official's fault and not La Salle's why Espinosa was allowed to play. FEU still had ample time to win the game as that incident happened with more than 2 minutes left in the game and La Salle leading by just 2 points. La Salle won 80-77. But the UAAP Board led by then UAAP President Dr. Cynthia Abad-Santos ordered for a replay of the first game. La Salle decided not to do the replay. La Salle was twice to beat; so FEU have to win 2 games to win the crown. On the replay date, the championship was handed to FEU automatically via default (even though DLSU has a twice to beat advantage, it was presumed that since La Salle had no intent on showing up for the first game, the board reckoned that La Salle also had no intention of showing up for the second game).
In 2004, La Salle defeated the defending champions Tamaraws in three games. In 2005, FEU swept La Salle in the Finals, but not without incident as the La Salle assistant team manager and alumnus, Manny Salgado hit FEU player Arwind Santos after La Salle's game 1 loss. However, after the 2005 series, La Salle voluntarily returned their 2004 trophy when two Green Archers were found to have falsified documents, thus awarding FEU, their 2004 Finals opponent, the championship. And because of the issue, the UAAP suspended La Salle for 2006 due to negligence and unsportmanship.
In Volleyball terms, The UST Tigresses and the FEU Lady Tamaraws are up head-to-head. With FEU winning the most crowns in the league, UST comes right behind them.
In Season 69, the Tigresses took the championship away from the Tams, who was before then almost undefeated. Then in Season 70, FEU makes its way to the finals for the second time, dethroning the the defending champions completely and winning the championship after going up against the team they have never beaten in the eliminations, the Adamson Lady Falcons.