AIB athletes stand in meeting


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DES MOINES — Since the announcement of AIB College of Business’s gift to the University of Iowa, 15 of the baseball team’s 42 players have left the roster.

“We’re like a family, we fight like brothers, we play like brothers,” said Chad Harris, the head coach of the AIB baseball team. “In essence, we’ve lost 15 of our brothers.”

Around 35 people from AIB attended Monday’s Iowa House Appropriations Committee meeting, including players, coaches, and faculty from the college. 

UI President Sally Mason told legislators during the meeting that AIB would close in June 2016 for the July 2016 opening of the Regents Regional Center.

Chris Costa, the chairman of the AIB Board of Trustees, said all athletics would be completed by the end of May, but the facilities may still see use.

There are 14 AIB varsity sports that participate in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics competition, and while fall sports are already finished, spring sports will complete their seasons before the institution closes.

“In regards to the facilities, there will be activities [the UI] will want to maintain,” Costa said during the meeting.

Mason said current athletics facilities could potentially be used for club and intramural sports.

Costa said scholarships would be honored through the closing of the school by using investment funds the university has.

Amy Tagliareni, an AIB assistant professor, had harsh words about what has happened so far in the planning of AIB’s gift.

“If I told my students to turn in a business plan, and they turned this in, they’d fail,” she said.

Tagliareni told The Daily Iowan that while students might be guaranteed through next year, her and her coworkers’ fate is still unknown.

During the meeting, Mason said duplicate athletics programs aren’t feasible.

Harris said AIB athletes shouldn’t be reduced to being mascots, referring to a statement Mason made during a Feb. 5 state Board of Regents’ meeting.

Mason said then she was “really not interested in another set of Hawkeyes” in reference to the future of AIB athletics.

After the meeting, a small group of representatives stayed to address athletes concerns.

“I feel more comfortable that our questions got addressed [by representatives] after,” said Tyler Huffman, a senior AIB baseball player.

A resounding statement from the informal discussion was that students, specifically athletes, felt the college hadn’t heard their concerns.

Harris said many freshmen had come in with full scholarships to AIB — a $60,000 commitment — that now will only be honored through June 2016.

Drew Rossman, a senior from Seattle, plans on graduating next winter, but he said that with the loss of students he’s predicting, he’s unsure about the future.

“I’m estimating a lot of students are going to leave after this year,” he said. “Probably 400 kids.”

Iowa and AIB will go head-to-head in baseball on March 11, and Rossman bluntly said the team isn’t fazed, and the palyers are looking forward to it.

Harris said despite losing 15 members, the team is continuing on as a family.

“We say it after practice every single day, we’re a family,” he said.

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