Monday, February 27, 2012

Mount Union, Wooster to Host Quarterfinal Round NCAA Division III Basketball

Two AICUO members, one each in men's and women's play, will host sectionals in the NCAA Division III basketball tournaments this Friday and Saturday.

At Wooster, two teams from the North Coast Athletic Conference will play on Friday night with the possibility of an all-AICUO regional final on Saturday.

Wittenberg, the NCAC regular season champion, faces North Central (Ill.) in the 5:30 p.m. game on Friday. Playing in Lexington, Ky., Wittenberg reached the round of 16 by defeating Birmingham-Southern 63-56 in a storm-delayed first-round contest on March 2 and then beating Carroll (Wis.) 87-70 the next night.

In Friday's second game, Wooster, the host school and NCAC tournament champion, faces Illinois Wesleyan. Playing the first two rounds at home, Wooster defeated Maryville (Tenn.) 70-63 on March 2 and then knocked out fellow AICUO member Capital, regular season co-champion and tournament champion of the Ohio Athletic Conference, by a 92-79 score on Saturday. On Friday, Capital rallied to knock out Randolph-Macon (Va.) 68-60 before being eliminated by Wooster the next night.

In other first-round play, Ohio Wesleyan, the third team invited from the NCAC, lost its first-round match to Hobart, 64-60, at Radnor, Pa.

Winners of Friday's games play Saturday at 7 p.m. for a place in the Division III Final Four. Ticket information and links to video and audio for the games this weekend are available at the Wooster sectional web site.

Mount Union, the only AICUO member that qualified for the NCAA Division III women's tournament, will host tournament play again this weekend.

Losers of one game all season and holder of the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, Mount Union faces Illinois Wesleyan in the night's second game, preceded by a 5 p.m. contest between Carthage (Wis.) and Centre (Ky.). Winners play at 7 p.m. Saturday for a place in the semifinals.

In first-round play, Mount Union defeated LaRoche (Pa.) 73-63, and followed the next night with a 61-55 comeback win over Muehlenberg (Pa.).

Ticket and other information about this sectional are available at its website.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Governor's State of the State in Steubenville

AICUO President C. Todd Jones attended Gov. Kasich's State of the State speech in Steubenville this afternoon at Wells Academy, an elementary school located within Steubenville High School. Wells is the highest ranked elementary school in the state and is one of the state's more innovative schools.

The city's pride was apparent from casual conversations with others in the audience who attended high school in the same building. The distance from Columbus and much of the rest of the state did little to deter most of the members of the legislature from attending.

Standing in front of what is undoubtedly one of the largest Ohio flags in existance, the governor put the problems of the state's past economic difficulties in context by noting that over one-third of baccalaureate graduates leave the state within three years. The bulk of his speech focused on jobs and a business revival. However, it was clear that the governor sees the link between the future economic success of our state and it's higher educational institutions.

As his speech drew to a close, he noted the link between successfully graduating in four years and the development of an educated workforce. Much of his focus was on reforming the state's public institutions, but in a sense, rethinking the state's ongoing investment inefficiencies with public colleges is the necessary path to making resources available for the less glamorous--but more direct--path to the improved graduation rates he seeks: closing the financial gap for the state's poorest students who need financial assistance to complete their degrees in Ohio.