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NCSU orientation classes for athletes a hot topic for Carolina fans

UNC-Chapel Hill fans tried to take a page out of their rival Wolfpack fans' notebook this week by using a message board to draw attention to what they view as suspect academics at N.C. State University.
What they have focused on are two courses offered to athletes at NCSU, identified as USC 103 and USC 104. They found data from a course ranking website showing that no one received anything less than an A in the fall 2011 semester, and one of the instructors is also an academic coordinator for football players.
So are these classes 'gimmes' for athletes? Not according to Carrie Leger, the director of NCSU's Academic Support Program for Student Athletes.
What they amount to, she said, are the same university orientation classes that many incoming N.C. State students take -- USC 101 and USC 102 -- that are each worth one credit hour. The typical course at most universities is worth three credit hours.
USC 103 and USC 104 are designed for freshman student athletes, she said, because their academic experience is complicated by the hours they spend practicing and competing, and because of NCAA requirements they have to fulfill to remain eligible to play.
"Having a course specifically for student athletes is and has been a best practice," Leger said. "I'm 15 years into the profession, and it has been an effective good practice in all those years."
She said many colleges have similar classes, and some allow up to three credit hours for them. The orientation classes do count toward a student's grade point average.
Not everyone takes USC 102 or USC 104, she said. Just those who still haven't picked a major, or anticipate changing to another major.
She said academic counselors teach the classes, just as academic counselors in NCSU's First Year College teach the orientation classes for nonathletes.
She released average grades for both sets of classes that show similar academic performance:
From the period beginning with the fall 2008 semester and ending with the spring 2011 semester, nonathletes averaged a 3.53 and a 3.44 for USC 101 and USC 102, respectively, while athletes averaged a 3.64 and 3.38 for USC 103 and USC 104, respectively.

NCSU research makes projectors more likley for smartphones

New technology from researchers at N.C. State University and ImagineOptix Corporation may make smartphone projectors as common as smartphone cameras.

NCSU researchers make elastic displays less of a stretch

Electronic skin? Stretchable displays? Research at North Carolina State University might help push stretchable electronics, even displays, from concept to consumer devices.

N.C. State's Dr. Yong Zhu, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and Feng Xu, a Ph.D. student in Zhu’s lab have developed elastic conductors using silver nanowires.

The technology could be seen in applications from an electronic "skin" to improve tactility in robotics, or expand the capabilities of consumer devices with stretchable displays and antennas.

N.C. State researcher launches project to battle Android malware

Android malware can wreak havoc on a user. The quick growing threat can exploit data and even take control of a device incurring hidden charges. There is a new effort to battle the menace on mobile security.

To help combat malware attacks on the platform, N.C. State researcher Xuxian Jiang announced The Android Malware Genome Project at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco. The goal of the project is to facilitate mobile security research by sharing malware-related code.

Jiang and his team are known for being the first to identify dozens of malware threats against Android.

NCSU professor talks changing accents on 'CBS This Morning'

"CBS This Morning" correspondent Mo Rocca visited North Carolina recently to film a report on homogenizing American accents. And no report on American accents is complete without a chat with N.C. State professor Walt Wolfram about the hoi toiders of Ocracoke. Wolfram, a William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor, has been studying dialects for almost than 50 years and has been at N.C. State for the past 20.

"Studying dialects in North Carolina is like dying and coming to dialect heaven," Wolfram told Rocca. "It's incredible. There's no state that has a richer tradition."

Video of Rocca's report is below and includes "CBS This Morning" host and North Carolina native Charlie Rose talking about this own accent.

Tomorrow's paper

If you are a subscriber (or even if you buy from the rack or the Kangeroo), you may have seen an unusual editor's note on today's front page. (Not a note from an unusual editor, but an unusual note.) 

It said, "Because of the later tipoff times for tonight's UNC and N.C. State games, the News & Observer final edition will be delivered later than usual Saturday morning to include coverage from the Midwest Regional......"

The UNC game against Ohio is scheduled to start at 7:47, which could mean 8 p.m. The N.C. State game against (gulp) Kansas is scheduled to start at 10:17 p.m., or later, depending on when the UNC game ends.  In these situations, listed TV game start times are accurate only within 15 or 20 minutes or so.

We will be hustling to get the UNC game in the State edition, which goes mostly to Eastern North Carolina all the way to the Four Corners Diner in Atlantic Beach (I've been looking for a chance to plug this place.)

The Final edition, which we usually have to send to the pressroom by 11:25 on Friday night, is being held to get the State game in, thanks to the extremely wonderful accommodation of the pressroom and our carriers.

We may not be sending the last pages of the Final to the pressroom until 1:15 a.m. We will start the press up and run a bunch of papers off so we can get the farthest Final edition trucks away from the dock. Then we will replate, which is newspaper jargon for updating several pages with additional stories and photos being sent by our reporters and photographers in St. Louis, hitting the button to send them to the pressroom,  wrapping the new plates around the press cylinders and starting back up again. (If you want to know what pressure is, the reporters and photographers in St. Louis, who have been working all day, will have - starting at 12:45 - about 15 minutes to get their first stories and game-end photos to the editors and page designers who then will have 15 minutes to muscle all that into pages to start the Final edition press run. And then they have to do this all over again for the replate. Meanwhile, getting all this to our online staff.)

As Brooke Cain noted on today's front page, the State and UNC games have been directed to TBS by the CBS-Turner Sports cabal, which undoubtedly has caused WRAL no end of angst as they will be airing the Baylor/Xavier and Kentucky/Indiana games. Which are huge in this market, no doubt.

Of course, if State and UNC both win tonight, this weekend will be crazy. The Sunday head-to-head between State and UNC will dominate the Sunday paper and the Monday paper.

Schedule and channel lineup for NCAA Regional Semifinal games

Here's the schedule and channel lineup for Thursday and Friday's NCAA Regional Semifinal games:

7:15 p.m. CBS - Wisconsin vs. Syracuse
After conclusion CBS - Cincinnati vs. Ohio State
7:47 p.m. TBS - Louisville vs. Michigan State
After conclusion TBS - Florida vs. Marquette

7:15 p.m. CBS - Baylor vs. Xavier
After conclusion CBS - Kentucky vs. Indiana
7:47 p.m. TBS - UNC vs. Ohio
After conclusion TBS - NC State vs. Kansas

NOTE: Both of the local games (UNC and NC State) will air on TBS, which means folks will need cable, satellite, or a streaming account with the NCAA to watch. WRAL, the Triangle CBS affiliate, says local stations are no longer part of the decision-making process over how NCAA games are distributed. The assignments are determined by CBS Sports and Turner Sports.

The late, late show

I'm not feeling a lot of love for the NCAA. The N.C. State game is scheduled to start at 10:17 p.m. Friday night. Which means 10:30. Which means it won't end, probably, until quarter to 1 at the earliest. Maybe 1 a.m. What does the NCAA think it is, Major League Baseball?

Our final edition press normally starts around 11:30 on Friday nights. So we just had a meeting to push back the press time so we can get the N.C. State-Kansas game story in.  Which means the papers might be a little late on Saturday morning, but we think it's worth it.  If UNC, which plays the early game, and State both win on Friday, they face each other on Sunday for the right to go to the Final Four from the Midwest Region.  Which would be incredible.

If that happens, we want to be able to tell people that in the Saturday paper. 

I just asked Sports Editor Steve Ruinsky what time the regional final would be on Sunday. He said that the time won't be set until Friday evening/Saturday morning. So I don't know what to tell you about planning your Sunday.


Video recap: N.C. State beats Georgetown, heads to St. Louis

Lorenzo Brown hit three free throws in the final 10.6 seconds and N.C. State returned to the round of 16 with a 66-63 upset of third-seeded Georgetown in the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The Wolfpack (24-12) will play Purdue or Kansas on Friday.

Video: Wolfpack, Hoyas set for Sunday

The No. 11-seed N.C. State Wolfpack and No. 3-sed Georgetown Hoyas will go at it on Sunday in Columbus. Mark Gottfried and C.J. Leslie speak for the Wolfpack. John Thompson III talks for the Hoyas to the media.

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