Women cagers to play in Vegas in ‘88

By Tom Clegg

The NIU women’s basketball team will spend some time in Las Vegas next December.

Thanks to a shaky approval of the 1988-89 schedule by the NIU Athletic Board Wednesday, Coach Jane Albright and her squad will play Dec. 9-10 in the Nevada-Las Vegas Classic. The motion to approve the schedule was met by dissension from several board members.

The controversy surrounding the schedule centered around the closeness of the Las Vegas tournament to the beginning of finals week next fall. The Huskies will not return to campus until late Saturday or Sunday prior to the first day of final exams Monday.

The board policy is to not schedule games two days prior to the start of undergraduate final examinations. SA President Jim Fischer was one of several student board representatives who expressed reservations about the trip, citing this reasoning.

“To take the students away two days before finals and bring them back Saturday night is stressful on the students,” Fischer said. “If we consistently break the policy or make exceptions to it, what’s the point of having a policy?”

Board member Walt Owens favored the schedule, saying the importance of the Las Vegas Classic outweighed the good intentions of the policy.

“If you’re going to bend the rule, you might as well do it in Las Vegas,” Owens said.

The board also discussed the sticky subject of the Rockford MetroCentre. While most members agreed the Huskies’ other home court has not received favorable reviews from NIU students, points were brought up by Owens and interim Athletic Director James Mellard in support of the Rockford building.

“If we were doing things right, we could have four games in Rockford and everyone would be happy,” Owens said. “When you’re losing though, you don’t want any games there. But we have to look to the future.”

Mellard brought up the possibility of the Huskies’ men’s squad receiving a postseason National Invitational Tournament bid. He pointed to the NIT’s favorable attitude toward schools with large arenas and substantial fan support.

“In the event we have a record which would get us to the NIT, Rockford would be an attractive site,” Mellard said.

On other issues, Budget Committee Chairman Gary Glenn reported that ticket sales for the Huskie football games fell $65,000 short of projected figures. Actual ticket sales totaled $160,000 with an additional $6,000 in parking revenue.

Several board members voiced their disapproval of The Northern Star’s handling of the John Culbertson incident, especially the use of the word “terrorism” in the accompanying headline.

The board unanimously approved minor changes in the men’s swimming, men’s gymnastics and wrestling schedules for 1987-88.