Monthly Archive for October, 2015

BIG 12 Commissioner Wants Changes in NCAA

Bob Bowlsby is used to working in volatile environments.

As a former athletic director for Stanford University and the University of Iowa, he has found success in controlling and organizing athletes at school that expect success. Now, as the commissioner of the Big 12 Athletic Conference, he’s now under an even bigger spotlight than before.

At a National Press Club luncheon on September 21st, Bowlsby discussed why, not only himself, but all of college sports and the NCAA is under some scrutiny.

“There are some things that I’m not really proud of, and I don’t think anybody else should be either,” Bowlsby explained. “This (the NCAA) is an infinitely more complex environment than the NFL, the NBA, or Major League Baseball.”

In his speech, Bowlsby reiterated how difficult it can be for the NCAA to manage almost 1,200 schools that have athletic programs, with 350 of them being in division one.

One such aspect of college athletics that has been difficult to manage is the threat oif gambling. Bowlsby stresses that it’s vital to be able to tell the differences between college and professional athletics, and it starts with betting money.

“If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck, pretty soon it’s going to be hard to say that it’s not a duck,” symbolized the commissioner.

Another hot button issue surrounding college sports within the past decade or so has been the question of whether or not student athletes should be paid more than just their scholarship and their room, board, food, and tuition. Bowlsby says that there has been significant progress in discussions with the NCAA and the United States court system concerning additional pay. While the talks haven’t progressed as quickly as Bowlsby would like, he’s excited about how close they are to a final decision.

Perhaps the biggest topic of the night that Bowlsby discussed was the increasing problem of performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs. PEDs was not in his original speech, but he was asked after his speech was done what the NCAA was planning on doing with the problem of the increasing frequency of drugs.

“We need to start doing more (about PEDs),” said Bowlsby, “I don’t think we do as much as the governing bodies in our Olympic program, and I think we could probably do better.”

Bowlsby admits there is too much variance in how the NCAA handles drug testing among athletes, and that it needs to get tightened up soon. According to the commissioner, there’s only random drug testing among a small amount of athletes per conference, and that those tests are ran by those specific conference. There isn’t a unified NCAA testing program. Bowlsby is working hard with the NCAA to change that.

Traveling Abroad in College: What Students Don’t Know They’re Missing

Beth Hinga, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Morningside College, has been to many countries. Egypt, Spain, France, Iceland. Ethiopia is her favorite, though.

“That’s where both of my kids are from,” explained Hinga. “My husband and I adopted them a few years ago. We made some incredible memories there.”

For Hinga, seeing these incredible countries that not many Americans get to see was life changing. Her job at Morningside, fittingly, is organizing trips for students to travel abroad for, what Morningside calls, their May term.

During this May term, students have the opportunity to go to another country for roughly 10 days to take in the culture of that country and take classes concerning that country. Unfortunately, not many students have the opportunity to add to their cultural resumé for either financial reasons, or simply because they have previous obligations.

“I couldn’t study abroad for my May term because I still had my softball season going,” complained Haley Rustvold, a senior at Morningside, “so I settled with taking my classes on campus.”

Softball, baseball, and track are three of the notable sports on campus that cannot take a May term in a different country because their seasons take place during May. Other sports also require their athletes, even though they might not be in season, to participate in mandatory practices and workouts during that month. All of this prevents students from gaining any cultural knowledge besides what they see in the media or at home.

Having to take classes in landlocked, modest Sioux City, Iowa hardly seems fair when students could take a plane to Panama to live and learn for a month. Equally unfair are the prices of traveling to those beautiful countries—they typically range in the couple of thousands of dollars. Although John Reynders, the president of Morningside College, isn’t shy in voicing his opinion that traveling abroad should be of little to no cost, it’s a battle that will more than likely not be won.

“Most students that have gotten to travel always come to me about how amazing it was to finally visit a place they’ve only seen or heard about online or on TV,” continued Hinga. “I wish every student got to experience that.” Hinga says that in her travels, she’s learned that traveling by herself or with one other person can be “a little intimidating.” That’s why she thinks students that travel abroad hardly discuss how frightened or anxious they were during their stay.

“Students get to travel with other classmates who are experiencing the same things they are all at the same time. Sometimes, the professor with them is too.” Hinga thinks that’s one reason why students talk about feeling so safe while in the strange country, so students shouldn’t use safety or fear as an excuse for not studying abroad.

Hinga wishes she could change circumstances so that every student on campus could, at the very least, travel to a state along the coasts of the United States. She admits that, although it’s not nearly the same as leaving the United States and learning about a completely new lifestyle, it’s better than nothing at all.

“That’s not to say that May term classes on campus aren’t valuable. But they don’t compete with hopping on a plane and embracing a whole new life.”

Traveling abroad for a May term helps students learn about and embrace previously little-understood cultures. They then spread their knowledge onto family friends. Yes, even in Sioux City, Iowa, the opportunity of going to a different country and discovering a new style of life knocks. Sadly, though, some students at Morningside College will never understand this sentiment.

Stuart Scott: “Let Others Fight For You”

Stuart Scott and every other cancer fighter, according to him, never fights their battle alone. In fact, to him, the battle is impossible without his friends, coworkers, and, most importantly, his loved ones.

“When you get too tired to fight, then lay down, rest, and let someone else fight for you,” said Scott at last night’s ESPYS Award Show, in front of thousands in the audience and millions watching at home.

Ironically, Stuart Scott has presented the award before to people that have fought similar battles. This time, however, in perhaps the most bitter of bitter sweet circumstances, he was given the award.

Scott’s main theme throughout his entire acceptance speech was clear and emotional. With his eyes glazed over with a small lining of tears behind his glasses, he was adamant that he wouldn’t be alive without the ongoing prayers and encouragement from those around him. From doctors to daughters, the never-ending love is what kept him fighting.

“This journey is not a solo venture. It requires support.”

For years, the anchor for Sportscenter, ESPN’s flagship program, was one of the most iconic and recognizable figures of the show. Even with his body beginning to fail, and after having spent the previous week in a hospital while undergoing four separate surgeries, he spoke with an energy and charisma that made him so popular in the first place.

“When you die, it doesn’t mean that you lose to cancer. You beat it by how you live… and the manner in which you live.”

“Real Black President”

Yesterday, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch sparked some drama when he tweeted that Ben Carson would be a “real black president who can properly address the racial divide.” Apparently, it caused a lot of drama. Fortunately, less than 12 hours later, Murdoch issued an apology on twitter.

“Apologies! No offence meant! Personally find both men charming.”

Okay, so what’s the big deal? He tweeted something that I’m not sure he knew sounded offensive. Nobody may ever really know what he meant by the original tweet.

The main quarrel I have with this is that Rupert Murdoch made headlines over a semi-controversial tweet that could possibly have been about Barack Obama. See the gray area?

What was the “new age of social media” is now starting to become quite old news, but old men like Murdoch are still more than likely struggling with the medium of communication. The news took a tweet from an old man and turned it against him to possibly be an Obama hater. I feel bad for Murdoch, but I also feel bad for those media outlets that took advantage of Murdoch.

Spanglish Love

Love is a touchy subject to college kids. A lot of them feel as though they’re far too busy to focus on such a thing. They’d rather focus on having fun without any attachments, while getting the best grades and experiences they can so they can find their dream career. One could take a safe guess that Dr. Patrick Blaine was doing such a thing while he was at college.


Blaine went to the University of Iowa for his first 4 years of collegiate schooling, where he intended on becoming an English Teacher. His sophomore year, mainly “just because,” Blaine decided to take a Spanish class. He had always been interested in the language, but he never thought that he’d eventually become fluent not only in that language, but also well versed in 4 other languages. And he never thought that he’d eventually make a career out of his Spanish fluency, including being on the executive board for South American film studies.


So one can imagine when Dr. Blaine strolled into Iowa City as a freshman that could be teaching English eventually, he never thought he’d meet the love of his life and future wife on a tour in Chile while studying abroad. He did, though, and his life was changed as soon as he first laid eyes on her.


The day that Blaine met his wife, he was about to go on a tour of old wooden churches in Chile.


“I really didn’t want to be there,” explained Blaine, “I would have rather been on the other tour that day.” It ended up working itself out.


The tour was delayed because the group’s tour guide was late. Blaine recalls the event very well; when the car pulled up and the tour guide got out, a woman, Blaine locked eyes with her immediately. It was his future wife. According to her, it was love at first sight.


“It wasn’t for me,” Blaine snickered, “I’m not sure I believe in that.”


After that, they began dating, and a little more than a year later, they got married. Blaine brought her back to the United States with him. Although they both know English very well, they refuse to speak English in the house—it’s only Spanish in their residence. Their kids will have to do the same.


“They have to be at least bilingual. If not…” Blaine proceeded to fade off and laugh to himself.


Dr. Blaine’s whole life was changed after signing up for that college Spanish class his sophomore year. What was a hobby, at most a minor in college, became a passion, a career, and caused him to meet the love of his life. He tied his love life with his career without realizing it at the time. Some people may not be as lucky as him, but a story like Dr. Patrick Blaine’s can cause hope to those who need it.


Get Kanye Out of the Headlines

In a recent article published by, in an interview with Vanity Fair recently, Kanye West expressed that he thought Ben Carson was a great candidate and a brilliant man. Kanye shares the feelings of millions of people. But to think, it’s front page, even headline news. I don’t understand why this story is sharing headlines with the Pope, a congressmen, a debate about the death penalty, and scientists discovering a new material. He’s a celebrity, so his opinion is the Bible, right? Maybe to some teenagers who love his music and don’t know any better. I’m disappointed that a story about Kanye West liking someone has to be a headline story for That headline could have been filled with something more interesting or thought-provoking. At least we know what’s important to “thinkprogress.”