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Parent-child tournament helps girls' trip to nationals

Twenty-two parent-child teams turned out to compete in the Triangle Tarheels Basketball Club’s Mother-Daughter, Father-Daughter Tournament at Youngsville Elementary School in Youngsville.

The double-elimination, two-on-two competition, a fundraiser for the nonprofit team, featured girls ages 9-17 competing with a parent or a mentor, Tarheels coach Ahmad Smalls said.

Triangle Tarheels fifth-grade girls raising funds for nationals

The Triangle Tarheels Basketball Club fifth-grade girls basketball team completed its AAU season with 30 wins and three losses and earned a place in the Amateur Athletic Union Division 1 National Tournament to be played June 26-July 1 in Hampton, Va.

"We're really excited about that," coach Amad Smalls said Monday night.

To help pay for trip expenses, the team, which place third in the state tournament to take one of four qualifying spots for nationals, is conducting fundraising activities, including mother-daughter and father-daughter tournaments this weekend, and accepting donations, Smalls said.

AAU expels Nebraska

The American Association of Universities, an elite organization of institutions that excel in research, has taken the rare step of kicking out one of its members.

The group, of which Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill are members, has expelled the University of Nebraska, the first time the group has kicked out one of its own, according to this coverage in Inside Higher Ed.

The move has drawn a great deal of attention within the higher education elite. Membership in AAU is coveted, and the group rarely adds or removes members. It expelled Nebraska a year after revising its membership criteria and focuses largely on the level of biomedical research and research funding.

Members voted on Nebraska's fate last week, and the university would have remained in the group had two fewer universities voted to expel it, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Vote details are not public, but presumably, UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp and Duke President Richard Brodhead cast votes representing their respective institutions.

A spokesman for Thorp declined to comment Monday, deferring to AAU itself. I haven't heard definitively yet today from Duke, though it will likely decline to comment as well, I'm guessing.

A second university is leaving AAU under pressure. Syracuse University, whose credentials are also receiving scrutiny now from AAU, has announced plans to voluntarily withdraw.

The AAU's newest member is Georgia Tech, added in 2010. It has 62 members in all; Duke joined in 1938, while UNC has been a member since 1922.

N.C. State is not a member, though some feel it carries the necessary credentials. When Georgia Tech joined last year, NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson told the Chronicle of Higher Education he'd like his institution considered.

"The AAU is the pre-eminent research-intensive membership group," Woodson told that publication. "To be part of that organization is something N.C. State aspires to."

Annual dues are $80,500, according to that same Chronicle story.

Rugby team seeks travel help, plus news from Triangle golf, badminton, basketball and cycling

The Raleigh Vipers, the Raleigh Rugby Football Club’s Division 1 men’s team, is trying to raise $3,000 to help with travel and lodging expenses when the team competes in the Division I playoffs in Boston, starting with an April 30 game against the Boston Irish Wolfhounds.

1302602597 Rugby team seeks travel help, plus news from Triangle golf, badminton, basketball and cycling The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

'Out front' strategy pays off as Durham 10-year-old runs to national title

Durham fifth-grader Coleman Mitchell Jr. finished 2010 by adding a national cross country championship to his accomplishments.
A Creekside Elementary School student and member of the Durham-based Triangle Champions Track Club, Mitchell won the Bantam (age 10 and younger) Boys Division at the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships on Dec. 11 at Veterans Park in Hoover, Ala.
He covered the 3K course in 11 minutes, 14 seconds to win by seven seconds, a victory margin that might have produced as much relief as celebration for the young champion after some stressful anticipation.

10U Tarheels win girls basketball tournament

The host Triangle Tarheels defeated the Greensboro Gaters 35-28 to win the five-team Triangle Invitational girls 10-and-under AAU basketball tournament played Saturday at Long Mill Elementary School in Youngsville, coach Ahmad Smalls said.

Sarah Gutierrez led the Tarheels with nine point.

AAU basketball teams turn out for Kenny Inge Invitational

Even when temperatures push 100, it’s basketball season in the Triangle.

Nineteen AAU boys teams from the region converged over the weekend for the Kenny Inge Invitational Tournament at Cary Academy.

The tournament, named for and hosted by the former N.C. State star, raised scholarship funds for underprivileged kids and was put on by the Basketball Heights charitable foundation, tournament spokesman Rob Orton of the Cary Cougars said.

Garner Road Bulldogs win AAU 15U national basketball title

The Triangle is known for its outstanding basketball, and not just the basketball played by its college teams.

The latest team enhancing the area's reputation is the Garner Road Bulldogs 15-and-under boys AAU team. The Bulldogs, coached by Dwayne West, won the 15U championship of the Disney Super Showcase National Tournament played July 20-23 at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Maryland Basketball and Gary Williams: Is the high road worth it?

This isn't a sports blog, but here's a story I'd like to pass on nevertheless, given the Triangle's infatuation with college basketball.

The Washington Post just concluded a three-part series examining the precipitous decline of the University of Maryland's basketball program since it won a national championship in 2002 under the leadership of longtime coach Gary Williams.

It is a fascinating read. It lays out in specifics many of Williams' supposed deficiencies, most notably his reluctance to play many of the somewhat unseemly recruiting games that have now become the norm in big-time college basketball.

For example, he doesn't want to offer jobs to high school or travel-team coaches who have a huge amount of influence on star players and their college choices.

The core question that comes from this series: Is it worth it for Williams to stand on his moral high ground if his team is no longer winning?

Here's part one. Here's part two, and here's part three.


In higher ed, plenty of requests for stimulus

Spaces at the government trough are filling up fast and the leaders of national higher education associations are moving quickly in hopes of getting a piece of any sort of economic stimulus package that may become available.

Locally, universities are approaching this feeding frenzy with some caution.

Inside Higher Ed has a good breakdown of what many higher ed associations are requesting in bailout money.

Here are some highlights:

 • The Association of American Universities, of which Duke and UNC Chapel Hill are members, is asking President-Elect Barack Obama's administration for $1.8 billion for science research and personnel, and $750 million for new science facilities.

Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations, told me that Duke believes in the value of science  and would welcome stimulus money that funds the research itself and the people who do it.

"For Duke and research universities, it's more than medical research," he said. "It's energy research, it's defense research. [Research] is a proven source of innovation and economic activity for the country."

For Duke, a private institution, money for facilities isn't as critical an issue, Schoenfeld said, pointing out that public universities would likely benefit more from facilities funding. 

• Thirteen national groups that advocate for the rights of students have penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting, among other things, an increase in the value of the Pell Grant to $7,000 (the current max is $4,731), more money for federal work-study, and other funding for loan programs. (Note: That letter is the first attachment below)

• About two dozen major public universities have signed a letter put together by the Carnegie Corporation proposing the Higher Education Investment Act. It demands that any stimulus legislation include a signficant investment in the nation's public colleges and universities. 

The signatories include many of public higher education's elites — like Texas, Virginia, California, Maryland and the University of Wisconsin system, as well as the American Council on Education, whose president, Molly Corbett Broad, is the UNC system's former chief.

But there are no UNC system campuses on the list. A UNC system spokeswoman told me there are no plans for the UNC system or any of its campuses to join the initiative.

(The second attachment below is the four-page letter detailing the public universities' proposal. The third attachment below is a list of which institutions signed the letter.)


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