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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:09 p.m.

NCAA votes to lift meal restrictions

Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Athletic director Patrick Nero has spoken out against the NCAA’s rule on feeding athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Good news for hungry GW athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will likely allow student athletes to get access to unlimited meals and snacks from their universities – abolishing a rule that athletic director Patrick Nero had been advocating against.

Currently, student athletes receive three meals a day or a food stipend. Additionally, partial-scholarship athletes, walk-ons and commuters are not included in the meal plans and instead pay for their own food.

That’s been a big problem at universities like GW, which has a non-traditional dining plan and expensive on-campus options.

“We hear from our students that it runs out mid-semester,” Nero told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

He added that the University had appealed the NCAA to establish its own cafeteria for athletes on campus, but was denied.

If the NCAA’s Legislative Council’s proposal is finalized by the Division I Board of Directors on April 24, athletes will be afforded unlimited meals as early as Aug. 1.

The pressure to change the bylaw was heightened when University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he doesn’t have enough to eat.

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Members of the men's water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Members of the men’s water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.

Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.

Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.

Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.

No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.

Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.

This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.

Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.

The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.

Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.

Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.

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Elana Meyers became the first GW graduate to earn a silver medal Wednesday, finishing in second in the two-women bobsled competition in Sochi.

The former women’s softball shortstop, who now drives the top sled for the United States along with brakewoman Lauryn Williams, finished second behind the Canada-1 sled by just 0.10 seconds.

Photo courtesy of GW

Elana Meyers, right, represented the United States in the Winter Olympics this week. Photo by Pim Bonten, courtesy of Fireworks Sports and Entertainment

The gold medal only became out of reach for Meyers after her duo set a track record Tuesday, and had a .11 second lead going into the fourth and final run. But a cleaner run by the Canada-1 sled of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse gave the Canadians the edge Wednesday.

After already becoming GW’s first-ever Olympic medalist after winning a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver games, Meyers made national history Wednesday night in Sochi becoming the first female bobsled athlete from the U.S. to win two Olympic medals.

Athletics director Patrick Nero, who is in Sochi supporting Meyers, said in a release that the alumna “exemplifies the dedication, passion and attitude that we want all of our student-athletes to train and compete with every day.”

“Her commitment to mind and body enabled her to make the transition from elite college softball player to one of the best bobsled pilots in the world, and we couldn’t be more proud of how Elana represents GW on the global stage,” he said in a release.

A recent inductee of the GW Athletic Hall of Fame, Meyers made her mark on the GW community as a standout softball athlete. During her GW softball career Meyers was both a two-time Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for softball and former CoSIDA Academic All-American.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Public Health and Health Services in 2006 and her master’s degree from the GW School of Business in 2011.

NBC will re-broadcast the final runs tonight from 8-11:30 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. A Maryland native, Mike Brey, a 1982 alumnus, will feel just that as he brings his Fighting Irish men’s basketball team to College Park Wednesday to face the Terrapins.

But on Tuesday, in front of a sold out Smith Center crowd, Brey was reunited with a different home as he was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame.

Brey, who received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University, led the men’s basketball team in his only season for the Colonials. Brey’s 116 assists in 24 games earned him MVP honors for the 1981-82 season as GW went 13-14 for the season.

When his time as a Colonial came to an end, Brey decided his basketball career was far from over. He returned to DeMatha Catholic to serve as an assistant coach, before serving in the same role at Duke University under the leadership of legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K was among the many well known college basketball faces to leave a message on the Smith Center’s jumbotron during halftime of GW’s matchup with VCU.

Brey then took the head coach position at Delaware and led the Blue Hens to two March Madness appearances in five years. In 2000, Brey moved to South Bend and took up the task of revitalizing a failing basketball program at what many would consider a “football school:” Notre Dame. Following a 10-year drought of failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Brey has turned the team around, taking the Irish to the NCAA Tournament nine times in his 14 years, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance during the 2002-2003 season.

Born in Bethesda, the Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., but chose to venture to Northwestern State University in Louisiana, for his first two years of college. Brey quickly returned to the DMV area for his final two years of school (1980-82), saying he “reinvented himself” during his time at GW.

The coach’s GW ties extend further, as his mother – an Olympic swimmer – once coached the GW swimming team, while his father, received a master’s degree from the University. He’s also close to Jonathan Tsipis, GW’s women’s basketball coach who previously coached at Notre Dame.

“Jonathan Tsipis was a close friend,” Brey said.

“And Mike Lonergan is almost like my little brother in a lot of ways,” Brey added, speaking of how “proud” he was of the current head coach.

Brey complimented the current athletics program, noting that it “is in great shape” with athletics director Patrick Nero at the helm. He spoke to reporters at a press conference before Tuesday’s game, but later addressed the jam-packed Smith Center while being honored during halftime of GW’s eventual 76-66 win.

Brey said, in his mind, his mother, the aforementioned swim coach, and his wife, a GW volleyball player, are the two “best athletes” in the family. “My mom and my wife should be in the hall of fame way before me,” he said.

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This post was written by Hatchet sports editors Sean Hurd and Nick Ong.

You know it’s a blowout when six different Colonials score in double figures.

You know it’s a blowout when only one GW starter needed to play more than 20 minutes.

But, most importantly, you know it’s a blowout when athletic director Patrick Nero offered up free hot dogs if GW scored over 100 points.

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino dunks during Tuesday's 94-50 win over Delaware State. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino dunks during Tuesday’s 94-50 win over Delaware State. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

GW came up just short of the century mark in its 94-50 win against Delaware State Tuesday night, but the Colonials’ bench nearly outscored the entire Hornets team, netting 48 points.

By the end of the first half, 10 different players had scored and by the end of the game, every Colonial had grabbed at least one rebound.

“Some of our bench guys were a little shaky in the first half, but it was nice to be able to play them extended minutes,” Lonergan said. “To be able right now to have Patricio [Garino], Nemanja [Mikic] and John [Kopriva] coming off the bench, that’s really good for us.”

The blowout was sophomore Patricio Garino’s first game on the Smith Center floor this season and the forward looked like he hadn’t lost a beat. Garino went 4-6 from the field, totaling 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 19 minutes of play – reminding the home fans of his explosive ability to run the floor and get to the rim.

“I’m getting close [to 100 percent], but I think – coming back for a home game after two games not playing – I think it feels pretty good,” Garino said. “I didn’t have a good time being on the bench or on the sideline at practice. I totally hated it, but I’m glad to be back and I want to do whatever it takes to make my team better.”

As a whole, the Colonials dominated in every statistical category, putting on their best overall performance of the season to improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Six GW players finished scoring in double figures, with senior forward Isaiah Armwood leading all scorers with 17. GW would end the game shooting 60 percent from the field, going 35-58 with 25 assists.

GW also continued their success from behind the three-point line, shooting 58.8 percent on the night – their highest mark this season. Entering the game, Delaware State (1-3) had held opponents to 18.8 percent shooting from long range.

While graduate guard Maurice Creek was once again lights out, going 3-3 from the behind three-point arc, a new Colonial came through as another long-range threat: freshman Nick Griffin. The 6-foot-2 guard, who Lonergan tagged as a “zone buster,” shot a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc Tuesday.

“Coach always talks about ‘Know your role,’ and he always tells me when I have open shots to shoot the ball,” Griffin said. “I’m just glad my teammates were able to find me out there and I was able to knock some shots down.”

Griffin would finish the game as the Colonials’ second-highest scorer and minutes eater, with 14 points and 21 minutes played.

The Colonials took ownership over the paint as well, outscoring the Hornets 44-18 there. Throughout the game, GW was scoring basket after basket down low, driving into the paint at will, and on multiple occasions finding either Armwood or sophomore Kevin Larsen for a crowd-pleasing slam. GW would out-rebound the Hornets by 17, 41-24.

The Colonials held  Delaware State to just 19 points in the first half off 28 percent shooting. It wouldn’t get much better for the Hornets, who would finish the game 14 points below their season average of 64.

Lonergan said after the game that he wanted to disrupt the Delaware State offense that likes to “shorten the game, run the clock and run the shot clock down.”

“We wanted to come out and force the tempo, play at out pace,” Lonergan said. “We tried to come after them with man-to-man, then we put our one-three-one on and stretched it out a little, and just got them to play a little faster than they usually do.”

The Colonials are in the best position possible before making the trip to California for the Wooden Legacy Tournament. With an undefeated record and ample time before their opening round matchup against Miami, Lonergan said he is focused on getting his team prepared both mentally and physically for what is sure to be the Colonials’ biggest weekend of 2013.

“I mean, you’d like to not have a break when you’re playing well,” Lonergan said. “But it’s a good time for us to have a break right now and take the trip out there to prepare.”

This post was updated on Nov. 20, 2013 at 12:05 a.m. to reflect the following

Correction appended
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the last 4-0 start for the Colonials was the 2006-07 season. They actually started 4-0 during 2009-10.

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Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 1:42 p.m.

GW declares war against George Mason

GW and George Mason declared war Tuesday.

In another effort to drum up a local rivalry, the Colonials and Patriots will compete annually for the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy in what is being dubbed “The Revolutionary Rivalry.”

Graphic courtesy of the Department of Athletics and Recreation

Graphic courtesy of the Department of Athletics and Recreation

The competition marks the first year in the Atlantic 10 for George Mason, which sits on the Orange Line and just 20 miles away from Foggy Bottom.

To win the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy (not to be confused with the Tri-Wizard Cup), the universites can earn points based on head-to-head victories in all 16 A-10 sports in which the teams compete.

That could spell trouble for GW, at least in men’s basketball. The Patriots made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2011 while GW hasn’t made an NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. GW plays George Mason in men’s basketball in Fairfax, Va. on Jan. 25 and at the Smith Center on March 2.

But the rivalry will extend to all the team’s head-to-head match-ups this year. Next, the women’s volleyball team plays the Patriots at the Smith Center on Sunday.

Bryan Bynes drives against a Patriot opponent. Hatchet File Photo

Bryan Bynes drives against a Patriot opponent. Hatchet File Photo

“Success in rivalries can shape a student-athlete’s and fan’s experience with their university, so we’re excited to have this opportunity for a hard-fought, but friendly competition,” GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in a release. “We welcome George Mason to the Atlantic 10 and we’ll look forward to seeing them in competition across many of our sports for years to come.”

But this isn’t the first time GW has marketed George Mason as its local rival. The University heavily pushed the “Battle of the Orange Line” in 2009 and 2010. Since then, GW has still lagged in overall men’s basketball attendance, sparking GW to try to focus on sports branding and marketing to stir interest.

Now, the teams are in the same conference after George Mason jumped from the Colonial Athletic Conference this year.

And with the local rivalry between Maryland and Virginia fizzling with those teams no longer in the same conference, GW and George Mason could fill a void. GMU athletic director Tom O’Connor said in a release that this one “has the potential develop into a true rivalry.”

No one expects this to be UNC-Duke, Cal-Stanford or Alabama-Auburn. But GW expects fans in seats.

The revolutionary war starts this weekend. What do you think about this new rivalry?

This post was updated on Oct. 16, 2013 to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet reported George Mason made it to the Final Four in 2011. They made it to the third round that year and the Final Four in 2006.

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Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 2:26 p.m.

Men’s basketball gets coveted national TV exposure

Joe McDonald and the Colonials fell hard to VCU last season, but will take on the Rams again in January on CBS Sports Network. Hatchet File Photo

Half of the men’s basketball team’s Atlantic 10 games this year will get picked up for national television – a result of the conference’s new TV deal that now includes NBC.

The release of the A-10 schedule also shows GW getting thrown into the gauntlet early, with January games against last year’s Sweet 16 team La Salle and juggernauts VCU and George Mason.

Seven of the Colonials’ games will be televised on NBC Sports Network, with the remaining one to be shown on the CBS Sports Network. The men’s team also will play this November in the Wooden Legacy on the ESPN networks, bringing the total number of nationally televised games for the 2013-14 campaign to 11.

The move to more national television games also shows the benefits of the A-10′s eight-year media partnership that was was signed last year.

“It’s an exciting day to be a fan of GW men’s basketball, but also a proud day to be a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference,” athletic director Patrick Nero said in a press release. “This television package not only helps accomplish our goal of showcasing the university, GW Athletics and our rising men’s basketball program to the nation, but is also a great stride in enhancing the profile of the Atlantic 10 within intercollegiate athletics.”

Thursday, Jan. 9 at La Salle – 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. Rhode Island – 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Tuesday, Jan. 14 vs. VCU – 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

Saturday, Jan. 25 at George Mason – 2 p.m. (NBCSN)

Saturday, Feb. 1 at Dayton – 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Wednesday, Feb. 12 at VCU – 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Richmond – 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Sunday, March 2 vs. George Mason – 2 p.m. (NBCSN)

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Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 2:15 p.m.

GW to bring back varsity track, diving

Women’s cross country head coach Terry Weir said the new program will help strengthen GW sports. Hatchet File Photo

The GW Department of Athletics and Recreation will add two varsity sports – men’s and women’s diving and track – for the 2014-15 athletic season, the University announced Tuesday.

The Colonials will now count 27 total athletic teams.

“The reinstatement of diving and track directly speaks to one of the initiatives we laid out in our strategic plan, and that is athletic achievement,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in a press release.

The move makes GW the sixth program in the Atlantic 10 with a men’s diving program, and the eighth with a women’s team. GW will become the 12th school in the conference with a track program.

“Our primary athletic goal is to compete at the highest levels in our conference and nationally,” Nero said. “These moves will help to ensure that our student-athletes and coaches are given every opportunity and available resource to succeed in competition.”

Current men’s and women’s cross country head coach Terry Weir will take on the additional role of head track coach, and foresees benefits of this decision spilling over to the current cross country student-athletes. The women’s cross country team earned the first NCAA ranking in its history last year.

“By fielding an indoor and outdoor track team that will compete in the winter and spring seasons, not only are we giving our student-athletes additional opportunities for achievement,” Weir said in a press release. “But we’re aiding our training and recruiting efforts in cross country by giving our student-athletes the ability to compete in Atlantic 10 and NCAA championships year around.”

More to come on this story.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sean Hurd.

After losing their season opener to Maryland last night, the women’s volleyball team bounced back Saturday morning, beating UMBC in three straight sets (25-20, 25-19, 26, 24).

The Colonials looked strong right from the start due to the efforts of sophomore setter Jordan Timmer and junior outside hitter Kelsey Newman. Newman recorded five kills on 10 total attempts, and eight digs, while Timmer, who had 26 assists in last night’s game, tallied 10 assists in the first set alone. Sophomore Maggie Skjelbred aided the duo with three kills of her own in the match’s opening set.

The match was played on the second and final day of GW’s host tournament, the GW Invitational. UMBC (0-2), which also dropped their first game of the invitational against Ole Miss, was in pursuit of their own first win of the season.

The second frame started with a bit of a different tone, as UMBC showed they were not going to hand the match over to the Colonials. Early on, UMBC was able to jump out to a five point lead, 8-13, forcing GW head coach Amanda Ault to stop the UMBC momentum with a timeout.

But Ault didn’t only manage to stop a streaking UMBC team, she was able to shift the momentum to her own bench.

Out of the huddle, GW bounced back thanks to another 10 assist effort by Timmer, and four kills from both freshman middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu and Newman. The Colonials rallied to take the set by a six-point spread.

The third set saw another flurry of strong performances from Colonials players. Timmer had her strongest set of the match posting 13 assists, while Newman logged another seven kill set of her own. After a back-and-forth set where neither team led by more than two points, the Colonials were able to prevail on a set and kill combination from the team’s best players of the match, Timmer and Newman. Timmer ended the match with 33 assists, while Newman tallied 16 kills, a .394 attack percentage, 12 digs, and two service aces.

The game was sponsored by the gay rights project “You Can Play,” with the goal of celebrating LGBT athletes across college athletics. One dollar of every ticket sold was donated to the Human Rights Campaign to support LGBT equality.

The Colonials finish off Invitational play tonight at 7 p.m. against Ole Miss.

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Athletic director Patrick Nero. Hatchet File Photo

Athletic director Patrick Nero wrote Friday in the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, about the “small, but encouraging” strides college and professional sports have made toward accepting of LGBT players.

Nero provided staunch support for creating a positive environment at GW for LGBT athletes, pointing to the Colonials’ participation in the “It Gets Better” and “You Can Play” projects. He also praised GW alumnus Kye Allums, the first openly transgender man to play on a Division 1 basketball team in 2010-11.

“Kye’s brave decision to come out was a challenge not only for Kye, but his teammates, our university and college sports. It is through challenges such as this that people learn,” he wrote. “This is what the college years should be about.”

Nero has ushered in a culture shift in GW athletics, aligning athletics goals with the University’s broader vision of becoming an academic powerhouse. He wrote in the Blade that the athletic department has also valued playing a role in LGBT and social issues.

The women’s volleyball team will continue that commitment Saturday as it hosts UMBC in a “You Can Play” sponsored game.

“We talk often as an athletic program about the importance of being part of the greater GW community. Too often intercollegiate athletic programs have strayed from the greater mission of the university, we try hard every day to see that this doesn’t happen here,” he wrote.

“Generations of stereotyping created a harmful environment that we are just now making progress on.”

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