PICKERING SAYS SCHOOLS' LAWSUIT SOUR GRAPES

VIRGINIA COLLEGES SAY CONFERENCE ALIGNMENT ILLEGAL

by Ryan Carssow

and Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston is among 12 universities named as defendants in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in a Richmond, Va., circuit court by Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth universities, who claim they were treated unfairly during the creation of a new athletic conference.

VCU and Virginia Tech were informed Friday that they would be left out of the planned, but yet to be named, conference that UH and 11 other schools are forming.

Defendants in the lawsuit include the new conference and its commissioner, Ralph McFillen, as well as the presidents or chancellors, athletic directors and faculty representatives of the five members of the Metro Conference which are included in the 12 schools that make up the new alignment.

VCU and Virginia Tech allege there was a breach of contract by the Metro members, interference with a contract by the non-Metro schools and a conspiracy among all the defendants to withdraw the Metro members from the conference without paying $500,000 in departure fees and lost conference revenue, such as television and NCAA tournament revenue, which VCU and Virginia Tech say are required before they can leave the conference.

The lawsuit also calls for an injunction to keep the current Metro alignment intact, thereby preventing the new conference from forming, until the suit is resolved and also asks the court to determine what the two plaintiff schools are owed by the Metro.

A hearing has been set for Jan. 26 to decide whether there should be a temporary injunction.

Lee Liggett, general counsel for the UH System, said he was informed of the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon and that he would not have a chance to read the papers until today.

Still, Liggett said he feels the lawsuit, from what he can infer before reading the documents, is more of a way for VCU and Virginia Tech to force further expansion that would include them than anything else.

"I don't understand why there are possibilities of a lawsuit at this time," he said. "There is no new conference at this time."

Liggett also said there may be other problems with the lawsuit, such as the lack of a foundation and the fact that the Commonwealth of Virginia has no jurisdiction in the state of Texas.

UH President James H. Pickering, who became aware of the suit Wednesday morning, said UH really has little to do with the lawsuit.

"They're the two teams (VCU and Virginia Tech) that were left out, and they're upset," he said. "The Metro conference is asking these two schools to leave.

"We're not main parties. I guess you would call us codefendants."

The new conference is a combination of UH, the five Metro schools (Tulane, Louisville, North Carolina-Charlotte, Southern Mississippi and South Florida) and DePaul, Marquette, St. Louis, Memphis, Cincinnati and Alabama-Birmingham, which are currently members of the Great Midwest Conference.

Liggett said he has yet to get in touch with the other schools involved in the new conference, but will do so in the next few days. He will also be in contact with the general counsel of the plaintiffs.

UH athletic director Bill Carr refused to comment on the situation other than to say, "That's a legal issue that I really can't comment on."

He did add that, "The conference will happen."

 

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WOMAN TAKES HELM OF ROTC

Senior given command of 78-member battalion

Cougar News Service

Wednesday's changing-of-the-guard ceremonies for UH ROTC marked the first time a female battalion commander took office.

Battalion Commander of the Corps of Cadets Kelly Do, a senior economics major graduating this semester, takes over a 78-member battalion.

"Ms. Do has done an outstanding job with communicating with the other cadets," said Brian McMurry, an assistant professor of military science.

After graduation, the former battalion sergeant major will continue her military service in the reserve forces, where she will work one weekend a month in the Quartermaster Corps, which controls supplies and logistics.

She took the position from last semester's cadet commander, Wally Nasr. Battalion Commander Maj. Mark W. Jones said the UH ROTC program changes the leadership each semester to give as many individuals the chance to lead and gain as much experience as possible.

"It's a leadership matrix," he said.

Do was chosen because of her past performance as a leader and success in the program, he added.

Do was very pleased, and shocked, by her appointment to the head cadet position.

"It's a real honor to run this battalion," she said. "A lot of people thought, 'They're giving it to me because I'm a female.' It never entered my mind.

"My classmates and myself are really close. All of us work hard."

Do also said she did not feel as if she were paving the way for others or tearing down walls, but just doing her job.

 

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SA CURBS EPIDEMIC OF ABSENTEEISM

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

The Students' Association Senate members have a reputation for not showing up to meetings. In the past, it was not uncommon for Senate meetings to be cancelled because not enough senators attended to make a quorum.

For the first time in several years, the Senate failed to live up to that reputation. During the fall '94 semester, the Senate made quorum for all of its meetings.

"Compared to previous years, it (attendance) is much better,"said Angie Milner, SA president. She added that last year's attendance was "embarrassingly horrible." Attendance was still a problem for many senators, but Jeff Fuller, speaker of the Senate, removed those senators or convinced them to resign.

At this time last year, SA had 16 senators in office, but this year there are 28, with 14 elected senators still in office, she added.

Five senators elected in March were removed after missing two consecutive meetings. Another five resigned due to time or interest concerns, Fuller said.

"If somebody misses two meetings in a row, they are removed. It's in the (SA Code). I'm just enforcing it," Fuller said.

In the past, absences have been a severe problem. "The reason why," Fuller said, "is that previous speakers didn't remove senators that were flagrant with their absences."

According to the SA Code, "Any senator who accumulates a combined total of five or more unexcused absences from Senate meetings and Senate committee meetings, or who is absent without excuse from two consecutive meetings, shall promptly and automatically be removed from office on the grounds of nonfeasance."

Fuller said he didn't wait until a senator accumulated five absences. "We've had individuals that just didn't want to stay involved," he said. "If an individual misses three or four meetings, I'll remove them or ask them to resign."

"There was one instance in the fall when we had to wait for an individual to show up. The meeting was delayed about 10 minutes, but I knew the individual was coming, and I didn't want to call the meeting to order because I knew we wouldn't make quorum," he said.

Despite the attendance, the Senate didn't accomplish very much, Milner said. After assembling all the legislation passed last semester, "I was surprised to actually see how small the stack was," she said.

Milner added that she authored most of the legislation and has become very frustrated with members who will not take the initiative to really get involved.

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TECH BEATS UH AT HOME FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1986

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Remember 1986, if you will: Jose Canseco was in his rookie year, Michael J. Fox was a big name at the box office and Ronald Reagan was just beginning to have memory lapses.

Until Wednesday night, it also marked the last time Texas Tech had beaten Houston at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Wednesday night, all that changed, as the Cougars fought hard in the first half, but folded quickly after intermission and went down to the Red Raiders 84-66.

"They're hard to beat; they always have been," Tech head coach James Dickey said of Houston. "We haven't won (in Hofheinz) since I've been here (1991). They do a great job with homecourt advantage."

Houston head coach Alvin Brooks said, "Shot selection was the big problem tonight.

"Defensively, I thought the first 20-25 seconds of each possession were pretty good; after that, it was totally unacceptable.

"A lot of times when (Tech) scored, it was inside the 10-second mark (on the shot clock). We had a lot of letdowns and breakdowns on defense."

The keys to the game were as easy as one-two-three to Tech head coach James Dickey. He said three factors jumped out at him:

"First, how well we played that five minutes before the half, building a seven-point lead."

The Cougars opened the game with a 14-10 lead and kept it close for most of the opening 15 minutes, never trailing by more than three. In fact, Houston had a 28-22 advantage for all of 20 seconds after Tyrone Evans buried a 3-pointer from the left side at the 9:03 mark.

But with Tech up 35-32, UH mainstay Tim Moore picked up his third foul of the first half and with 5:23 on the clock, was quickly pulled. The other starting forward, Kirk Ford, committed three fouls in only his first nine minutes of play.

Houston tied the score at 36 shortly after, but then the Raiders went on a 9-2 run, triggered by a trey from Jason Martin and a layup and short jumper from Lance Hughes. The Cougars helped out with four turnovers in the final five minutes.

"Second, we came out the first five minutes of the second half and went on a 10-0 run," Dickey said.

That spurt featured back-to-back 3's by Hughes and Martin, along with a layup by Hughes and a jumper from Mark Davis. Tech then sat on a 55-38 bulge, which Houston could cut to no less than nine.

"Third, I thought our defensive awareness was very, very good throughout the game. We knew where Moore was; we knew where the shooters were."

The numbers backed Dickey up. After a .500 first-half field-goal percentage, Houston tapered off to a dangerously low .289 in the second to finish at a subpar 38.2 percent.

Moore was his usual reliable self, leading the Cougars with 14 points and 12 rebounds, going 6-of-10 from the floor. Kirk Ford also responded with a 6-of-9, 12-point effort.

Freshman Galen Robinson, usually available when either player gets in foul trouble, missed the game due to a bruised shoulder.

"We shot 50 percent in the first half, and I was pleased with that," Brooks said. "When we ran our offense, we got good shots."

Brooks pointed to his guards' impatience and generally poor decision-making as reasons why the Cougars could not sustain their offensive success.

"You want to run out there and slap some people around," he said, trying to make mirth of his frustration upon reflection.

Houston did go on a 9-2 run of its own after Tech's opening second-half burst, making the score 58-49, but the energy just wasn't there for the remaining 12:05.

Jason Sasser, Davis and Hughes haven't always been there for the Raiders this year, but Wednesday, they responded with 22, 19 and 19 points respectively. The trio made 20 of 31 shots, including a 7-of-7 night from Hughes.

 

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VIP REGISTRATION TAKES AFTERNOON NAP

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

The Voice Information Processing System, or VIP, was down for about five to 10 minutes Tuesday, said Charles Shomper, assistant vice president for Information Technology.

When first contacted, Shomper said he was not aware that the system had gone down. After some checking, Shomper said the system had been temporarily overloaded with calls at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

He said there had been a problem with the network. "(The system) got so overloaded that we had to restart it," Shomper said.

"There is always a huge demand on the first couple of days of class," he added.

"On Monday, there were 14,000 calls," Shomper said, adding that there are only 96 phone lines for the system.

Figures were not available for Tuesday, but Shomper said he thought the number of calls to the system was about the same.

Shomper said that the average call to VIP is about 6.4 minutes long and that callers to the system might have noticed that it was running more slowly. If the calls are complex, said Shomper, they could slow down the system before causing true overloading.

"It has been slow before when it is very overloaded," he said, adding that spot checks made by VIP technicians hadn't picked up that slowness.

Shomper said, speaking of the possibility of the system completely crashing, "The likelihood (of a complete crash) is pretty remote. (Only if) lightning strikes and takes out the power," he added.

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TECH'S TRIO TERRORIZES LADY COUGARS IN LUBBOCK, 96-65

3-18-1

ROBINSON, ATKINS, TRUESDALE COMBINE FOR 58 POINTS

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

Texas Tech's starting frontline of Connie Robinson, Michi Atkins and Tabitha Truesdale combined to score 58 points as the No. 7 Lady Raiders took care of the Houston Cougars 96-65 in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum Wednesday night.

Altogether, the three Tech players shot 24-of-34 from the field and limited Houston (6-8, 1-2 in the Southwest Conference) to just 37 percent.

The Cougars' frontcourt trio never stood a chance as sophomore forward Pat Luckey (13 points), junior center Rosheda Hopson (six) and freshman forward Jennifer Jones (12) combined for just 10 rebounds on the night.

Thus, Tech (17-2, 3-0 in the SWC) also won the rebounding battle 53-27.

"We were ready, I thought, mentally," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw. "But it's always difficult playing Tech (in Lubbock, where the Raiders have won 55 of 57 games since Jan. 23, 1990)."

The game in Lubbock was also Houston's first road game since Dec. 22, when it beat Nevada-Las Vegas 77-64.

Nevertheless, the Cougars still didn't have the answer for Tech's fearsome threesome.

Robinson (24 points), Atkins (13) and Truesdale (22), who were coming off a brilliant 56-point scoring spree just four days prior at Baylor, again lit up the scoreboard against the Cougars.

"There were really no surprises about what they did," Kenlaw said of the Raiders. "I thought that we would do a better job of attacking their zone (defense)."

Tech held the Houston low post to just four offensive rebounds, one blocked shot and limited Luckey to 4-of-14 shooting.

"We were taken out of (the game) early," Kenlaw said. "But I think we took ourselves out. It was a total team effort."

The Raiders began the game with a 12-2 run and never looked back from there.

The Cougars found themselves down 42-21 at halftime, as no Cougar had scored in double figures by the break.

Following a jumper by Cougars guard and SWC leading scorer Stacey Johnson at the start of the second half, to cut the deficit to 19 points, Houston could get no closer than 21 the rest of the way.

Johnson scored 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting, but led the Cougars with five turnovers.

Tech took its first 30-point lead at 80-49 following a jump shot by Jennifer Cockerell (seven points) with 6:18 left to play.

"It's very difficult to come back against a team like Tech," Kenlaw said. "Our defense was nonexistent."

The Robinson-Atkins-Truesdale trio ultimately paved the way for the Raiders to shoot a whopping 61 percent from the field.

The Cougars return home Saturday, this time to face No. 22 Texas A&M (76-55 winners at Rice Wednesday) in Hofheinz Pavilion.

"We'll do either one of two things (vs. A&M)," Kenlaw said. "We can either take out our frustration on A&M, or sulk about it and not be ready to play.

"I don't think that (sulking) will happen. I think we'll be ready to play."

 

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RAIDERS RUN AWAY WITH IT

TEXAS TECH'S 19-2 RUN -- BEGINNING IN THE FIRST HALF, ENDING IN THE SECOND -- DOWNS COUGARS

by M.S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

It was a great upset in the making, until the second half began.

The Houston Cougars (3-12, 0-3 in the Southwest Conference) valiantly battled conference favorite Texas Tech (7-6, 2-1), but failed to defeat the five-headed beast from Lubbock.

Things looked promising for the Cougars as the first half ended with Tech leading 45-38.

"They're at home. They weren't going to roll over and play dead," said Red Raiders starting forward Mark Davis about the intensity of the underdog Cougars.

Houston played a tremendous game for the first 15 minutes of the first half by squelching the Raiders offense with a porous, yet effective zone defense.

With 4:40 left in the first half, Tech point guard Jason Martin sank a three-pointer from outside the zone and ended a 36-36 tie. Neither Martin nor the Hofheinz crowd could know that his trey would ignite a 19-2 run by the Red Raiders.

The Cougars fell behind by five with 4:09 to play when Houston point guard Tommie Davis turned the ball over, leading to a layup by Tech guard Lance Hughes. Willie Byrd made a jumper with 3:20 left to cut the lead to three, 41-38, but that would be as close as Houston would get.

With two more jumpers from Hughes and Raiders forward Jason Sasser, and two Houston turnovers, the Cougars went into halftime down 45-38.

But all hope was not lost as Houston had some positives to take into the locker room at halftime.

"We came out emotionally high. We didn't want to lose at home," said Cougars forward Jesse Drain.

Except for the last five minutes of the first half, Houston had played well enough to stay in the game.

Not more than nine seconds had elapsed in the second half before Tech resumed its onslaught, as Hughes hit a 3-pointer. Another trey by Jason Martin seemed to deflate Houston's chances at victory.

"Lance got us off to a great start on a three-point shot. We thought they might be in (man-to-man defense); they ran a zone, and Lance fortunately stepped up," Tech head coach James Dickey said of the second-half run.

A Hughes layup and Sasser jumper put Tech up 55-38 with 17:33 left to play, and the stunned Cougars were faced with a red-and-black frenzy.

"They had the momentum and the emotion in the first half, but we came out and took the momentum in the second half," said Mark Davis of his team's run.

The Cougars attempted to crawl back into the game. The closest they would get would be nine points. What could be the cause of such Jekyll-and-Hyde play?

"We came out flat the second half; they did not," Drain said.

"We took too many quick shots on offense. If we had rotated the ball more, I think the outcome would have been better."

In any case, the Cougars can come away knowing they played well against the conference favorite for one half, but there is always a second half.

 

 

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ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

by Valérie C. Fouché

Daily Cougar Staff

It is not uncommon for students to think of college as a place to simply take in information and regurgitate it at will. This is not necessarily the case in the College of Business, where students are being offered a unique chance to learn from and work alongside many influential business-leaders.

Undergraduate students at the University of Houston's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation are learning from business professionals about effective ways to develop and operate new business ventures. Active entrepreneurs in the Houston business community support these students by acting as mentors and stakeholders in the program.

Dale Toney, the CEI program manager, said that the College of Business has been extremely fortunate this year. "We have two executive professors this semester, whereas in the past we have had only one."

Coming on board as CEI executive professors are John McCormak, president and chief executive officer of Visible Changes, and Marilyn Hermance, owner of Westhemier Plumbing and Hardware, Inc.

"McCormak has been a big, big supporter of the Center and Hermance has just been a Godsend for us," Toney said of the new professors. "They are both very busy individuals; we are lucky to have them involved."

The center, created in 1992, provides a six-course undergraduate training program which involves more than 150 local and national entrepreneurs as instructors, mentors and financial supporters. Each year 30 students are selected to participate in the program, which teaches entrepreneurial skills necessary for starting, owning and operating new business ventures.

Each of the 30 students in CEI's highly selective program works with a personal mentor who has developed a successful business and who is able to give a student valuable insights and advice about what it takes to make it in the business world.

The unique CEI program is a series of six classes over a two-year period which provide a hands-on approach to every aspect of beginning a new business. The students apply what they learn in the classes to develop a workable business idea and convert the idea into a functioning business.

CEI stresses the importance of networking in the business world. The fledgling entrepreneurs meet with each other and their mentors to discuss their ideas and problems and exchange help and advice.

"This is a great opportunity for business students to form friendships and contacts that they can use after graduation," Toney said.

Students in the program have begun many new working businesses since William Sherrill founded CEI in 1992. Sherrill completely financed the CEI program with funds donated by Houston business leaders and contributions from stakeholders, who commit to giving $1,000 a year for five years.

Students in the College of Business who are interested in the program can contact the CEI program at 743-4752.

 

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DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP HELPS STUDENTS BLEND EDUCATION AND CULTURE

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

Tradition and UH usually don't mix when it comes to student life, especially since a great deal of students commute to school and have a family to support.

In fact, with a family to support, college students are required to manage their time strategically to balance all of their responsibilities.

Diana Orta Gonzalez, a University of Houston transfer student, said she found time between school and her other responsibilities to successfully complete her studies at San Jacinto College-North, which she previously attended.

"I wanted to get my degree in four years, but I didn't think I would have the time to attend school full time while taking care of other responsibilities," Gonzalez said.

The President's Diversity Scholarship for Transfer Students requires recipients to attend UH full time. This is the first academic year that the scholarship has been used.

The scholarship recognizes outstanding Hispanic, African American and Native American transfer students. According to a 1992 University study, the UH population was 61 percent white, 13 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Asian, 10 percent black, six percent International and less than one percent Native American.

The scholarships range from $500 to $3,000 per year, and recipients are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees.

Gonzalez, an English literature major, is one of 87 recipients chosen for the 1994-95 academic school year. She said that she was attracted to UH because of its Mexican-American Studies Program.

"I especially wanted to specialize in my own Mexican-American history and culture," Gonzalez said. "UH definitely had the program along with the organizations and social programs that involve the Mexican-American community."

The scholarship is based upon acceptance to UH according to university policy, a minimum 3.0 cumulative transfer GPA on a four-point scale for all college courses and completion of at least 30 semester hours of transferable credit from a regionally accredited college or university. The application deadlines are June 1 for the fall semester and Dec. 1 for the spring semester.

For more information contact the President's Diversity Scholarship for Transfer Students office at 743-9570.

 

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HEARING <I>VOICES<P> AT THE UH SCHOOL OF THEATRE

Daily Cougar Staff

For the first time in seven years, the UH School of Theatre will present a musical. That musical, <I>Urban Voices -- A Musical Commentary on Life in the City<P>, will run at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre Lab. The theater is located at entrance No. 16 off Cullen Boulevard.

<I>Urban Voices<P>, conceived and directed by UH Professor Deborah Kinghorn, includes music from <I>Company<P>, <I>Chess<P>, <I>Miss Saigon<P>, <I>Jekyll and Hyde<P> and <I>Sweet Charity<P> and pieces by musical satirist Tom Lehrer. Intermingled with the songs are scenes and monologues commenting on city life.

The cast of 14 was selected through auditions held in November. Members of the production team include assistant director Pam Rosenberger, scenic designer Kathy Snider, lighting designer Laura Smith and music directors Joann Fechelski-Alford and Kimber Cox.

The performance is free. For more information contact 743-2929.

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