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W E E K D AY E D I T I O N | M A R C H 12 -14 , 2 0 18 | T W I C E W E E K LY I N P R I N T | O U D A I LY. C O M


For 101 years, the student voice of the University of Oklahoma ANNA BAUMAN/THE DAILY


A potential candidate for OU’s presidency leaves the Robert M. Bird Library in Oklahoma City, where members of the OU Board of Regents were interviewing candidates March 10.

OU Board of Regents conducts interviews of presidential candidates behind closed doors in Robert M. Bird Library


U’s Board of Regents is wrapping up the presidential search process the same way it began: in covert proceedings. The regents met March 9 and 10 at the Robert M. Bird Library on OU’s Health Sciences Center campus, where they spent more than 12 hours in executive session deliberating and interviewing potential candidates to succeed OU President David Boren. A reporter from The Daily who was attempting to cover the meeting was prevented from fully doing so by OU police officers, who restricted access to a hallway from which it appeared potential candidates were entering and leaving the building. The officer informed the reporter that “the university does not want you back here” before

ANNA BAUMAN • @ANNABAUMAN2 contacting his supervisor to assess the situation. The two officers determined t hat t h e ha l l way s h ou l d b e off-limits because it is normally locked and had only been unlocked by staff members for purposes specific to the regents’ meeting. The hallway provided a hidden entry point for candidates by c o n n e c t i n g t h e re g e nt s’ meeting room with a back entrance, outside of which there was a black SUV parked at several times throughout the day. Before being led out of the hallway, the reporter witnessed an unidentified female who appeared to be a potential candidate leaving the premises. Regents chair Clayton Bennett said he knew nothing about the secrecy surrounding candidate arrivals and departures from the

meeting, but he confirmed that six interviews took place in person between March 9 and 10.

“We have a lot of work to do, a lot of deliberation, a lot of assessment, so we don’t have a time frame. We’ve chosen to take the time we need to make the right decision.” CLAYTON BENNETT, REGENTS CHAIR

“I know nothing about that,” Bennett said. “All I know was I was here to interview the candidates, and they arrived on time. Not involved in getting them here — I don’t know.”

The search for OU’s next president has been shrouded in secrec y since members of the presidential search committee signed a confidentiality agreement not to reveal any information about candidates. This secrecy has sparked backlash from OU faculty members, including OU’s Faculty Senate executive committee, which recently sent an open letter to the regents pushing for transparency and public access to finalists. Bennett said the board interviewed seven candidates in total, six in person and one via Skype, and will now take time to make a decision regarding OU’s next president. “We’ve had two extraordinary days,” Bennett said. “Incredible candidates. We were honored by the engagement, and we’re continuing our deliberations, so

we’re going to work.” Bennett said that he does not have a time frame for when the decision will be made, but that the board will take as much time as it needs to make the right decision. O n March 10, the regents scheduled a special meeting for March 13 to “discuss” candidates, but they canceled it hours later. “We have a lot of work to do, a lot of deliberation, a lot of assessment, so we don’t have a time frame,” Bennett said. “We’ve chosen to take the time we need to make the right decision.” Anna Bauman

Teachers voice frustration, call for raises Oklahoma educators’ pay ranks low in nation ANNA BAUMAN @annabauman2

A coalition of Oklahoma educators is calling for immediate legislative action to address the state’s education crisis. Public schools across the state will shut down April 2 if the legislature does not act to provide significant teacher pay raises and increased funding for education, the Oklahoma Education Association announced at a Ma rc h 8 p re s s c o n f e re n c e. The Oklahoma Education

Association is the the state’s largest organization of education professionals. The Oklahoma Education Association’s Together We’re St ro ng e r p ro p o s a l ca l l s f o r $10,000 teacher raises, $5,000 support staff raises and $200 million to restore public school funding over the next three years, among other demands, according to a press release. “Teachers and support professionals of Oklahoma are angry and frustrated with the legislature for not doing its job. We have tried several different paths to improve education funding, but none have worked,” said Alicia Priest, Oklahoma

Education Association president, in a press release. “If the legislature cannot properly fund education and core state services by the legal deadline of April 1, we are prepared to close schools and stay at the Capitol until it gets done.” The group’s proposal also includes state employee pay raises totaling $213 million over the next three years and $255.9 million in health care funding over the next two years. Many teachers who spoke during the press conference voiced their frustrations about teacher shortages, lack of funding and pay that ranks among the lowest in the nation.

School districts will prepare to close schools by organizing ways for students to receive food and tutors during a potential closure, the release said. “School closures are not our goal,” Priest said in the release. “Properly funding education and our state’s core services is the goal.” Nearly 80 percent of respondents to an Oklahoma Education Association survey said they believe it is time for schools to shut down in order for educators to rally for their rights at the state Capitol, according to an earlier press release from the association. These efforts come after

years of repeated failure by the Oklahoma legislature to advance teacher pay raises. The latest was the failure of the Step Up Oklahoma plan, which would have used tax hikes to fund a $5,000 teacher pay raise. The teacher pay crisis has become topic of discussion in other parts of the country as well. Legislators in West Virginia agreed March 6 to fund a 5 percent pay raise for state employees after teachers went on strike Feb. 22, shutting down schools for nine days. Anna Bauman


• March 12-14, 2018


Emma Keith, news managing editor • phone: 405-325-3666 • Twitter: @OUDaily

Nontraditional students return Students go back to school to advance educations, careers SCOTT KIRKER @KirkerSc

For David Woerz, simultaneously managing courses, a full-time career and family responsibilities is just an average day. Woerz, a nontraditional student at OU, balances his progression toward a bachelor’s degree in administrative leadership with his roles as owner and president of Ardmore Electric Supply and chairperson of the Chickasaw Nation Legislature. Although he took some classes at Oklahoma State University, he moved on from college in 1992 without having graduated. Now, he plans to graduate from OU this spring, around the same time his son will graduate from high school. “For my children to see their dad start back up at school and continue to learn is a lesson that I want them to know and learn because I think, in the future, they’re going to have to continue their education,” Woerz said. Woerz is just one of many


Administrative leadership senior David Woerz from Ardmore stands in front of Evans Hall March 9. Woerz is one of many OU students earning an online degree.

older undergraduate students who are enrolled at OU. More than 900 undergraduate students over the age of 30 enrolled each year from 2007 to 2017, according to the 2018 OU Fact Book. Jennifer Gatlin, undergraduate adviser for OU’s College of Professional and Continuing Studies, said a vast majority of older

undergraduate students take their classes online. Most of these students take classes that are eight weeks long, Gatlin said, and are considered full-time if they take at least two classes per eight weeks. Gatlin said many nontraditional students either tried the traditional route and it didn’t work out for them or

have decided to return to school later in life. Woerz has been taking three courses per eight weeks in an attempt to finish his bachelor’s degree as fast as possible, and he plans to start working toward a master’s in indigenous peoples law at the OU College of Law. “Without the support of my family, without the support

of my staff and coworkers, I would never be able to successfully manage this,” Woerz said. “So I give them lots of credit.” Woerz said he hopes once he moves on to earn his master’s he will be better able to represent the Chickasaw people. Justin White, a Las Vegas police officer, is also working toward his bachelor’s in administrative leadership by taking classes online through OU. He earned his associate’s at the College of Southern Nevada, but he said he’s always wanted to go back and get his four-year degree. Similar to Woerz, White said the administrative leadership degree will help him with his eventual career aspirations. “I’d like to be in some kind of leadership position, so I felt like administrative leadership would probably fit that niche,” White said. White said it is challenging to balance class and schoolwork with his job, where he works roughly 55 hours each week. “Even household chores start to slip a little, you know, when you’ve got to focus on getting your schoolwork done,” White said. “Things as simple as mowing the lawn or

cleaning the pool kind of get put on the side.” But White said, despite his busy schedule, he has learned a lot. “Anytime I have extra time, I’m always carrying around my laptop, my briefcase, just always plugging away,” White said. “I really do enjoy the classes. I’ve learned a lot about leadership, and I’ve learned a lot about how to write papers.” Both Woerz and White said they have enjoyed their time taking classes at OU and are looking forward to graduating. As a former nontraditional student herself, Gatlin said her role as an adviser feels a bit like giving back. She said her work is a way of pulling along those who are now in the position that she was once in. “Working with these students has been one of the most rewarding careers I’ve ever been in,” Gatlin said. “It instills a real sense of pride that we get to help these students realize a dream that they might have thought passed them by when they were 18 or 19.” Scott Kirker

OU class aims to help struggling students Strategies for Success teaches motivation, skills THOMAS GAO @tgao1018

A n O U U n i v e r s i t y College program aims to help students who struggle academically in the transition from high school to college get back on their feet. Strategies for Success — Strategies, for short — is a mandatory class required for students on academic probation offered primarily for second-semester freshmen who struggled in their transition to college. The class is a good way for students to identify what went wrong academically and learn how to overcome these problems at the same time, said John Dell, who teaches the class and is the director of the Center for Student Advancement. While universities often offer prevention classes like Gateway to help students entering college, the Strategies class is more like a treatment course, Dell said. “We try to identify what has gone wrong — maybe it’s family trouble, financial trouble,” Dell said. “Most often, we hear it’s just people didn’t have to study in high school, and that’s the most common reason for being in there.” The class, composed of a lecture and discussion section, teaches students skills like time management, delayed gratification and self-regulation. Although

students in the class generally have a GPA that has fallen below 2.0, academic aptitude is never the issue, Dell said. Instead, it is all about self-regulation. “We’ve gotten National Merit Scholars to non-National Merit Scholars — it’s the whole gamut of students. Ability is never the issue. I’ve never seen it be a problem,” Dell said. “There are real difficulties in understanding what it means to manage ourselves, particularly if there is some financial stuff or social drama, and then throw in enhanced academic pressure to learn more information and do more in shorter periods of time, and there’s less direction from faculty, so that just catches everybody.” The class has brought in guest speakers to share their experiences and deliver fresh perspectives on motivation and life skills. Tom Boyd, a David Ross Boyd professor emeritus of philosophy and religious studies at OU, has been a frequent guest speaker throughout the years. “We had Tom Boyd come for many years, and he’s a legend for people who’ve been around this campus for awhile,” Dell said. “His name is well-known, and (he’s) one of the great professors I’ve ever seen, and we were blessed that he would come and speak and share his wisdom on just what success means.” The class usually consists of 350 to 400 students each semester, Dell said. The discussion section, which is smaller in size, serves

to highlight what students learned in class and give students time to reflect, said Cheryl McCain, discussion leader and library instructor coordinator. “Students learn a lot from each other in the discussion portion,” McCain s a i d . “ I t ’s i n f o r m a l — there’s just a lot of sharing of experiences, and I’m giving students opportunities to say, I call it testimonials, so that students can encourage each other in that informal setting.” Although Strategies is a mandator y class, students can gain many positives from the experience, McCain said. “Students who take Strategies — it’s not by choice. They have to take t h e c l a s s b e c au s e t h e y didn’t do well one semester or maybe cumulative semesters,” McCain said. “It would seem that that would not be a good situation to step into, but the rewarding part of being a Strategies instructor is seeing students figuring out what they need to do to succeed, and that’s very rewarding to me personally.” Dell said 70 percent of students who take the class in the fall go on to become academically eligible, meaning their GPA rises above 2.0. Pre-nursing freshman Josie Gerdes said she enjoys the class, and it brings a new perspective to her college career. Prior to taking Strategies, Gerdes said she felt unmotivated and would constantly put off homework and procrastinate, but the class helped

motivate her. “It brings accountability to my academic career. It’s really nice to have someone be there for you,” Gerdes said. “They have regular

checkups to see how you’re of all of my homework and doing, and they have ways getting stuff done on time.” to help you. I love being in the class because it does Thomas Gao help. I hope in the future I can get better at taking care

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Traditions receives OU alert Armed individual at campus housing taken into custody SCOTT KIRKER @KirkerSc

OU issued a law enforcement emergency alert early the morning of March 10 after receiving reports of an armed individual. The alert that was sent out a few minutes after 3 a.m. warned recipients to

avoid Traditions West, and about two hours passed before another alert reported that the area was clear. OU press secretary Matt Epting said in an email to The Daily that the alert came after the OU Police D epar tment received a report that someone was “p o i n t i n g a w e a p o n a t Traditions West apartment complex.” When the police arrived they evacuated the building and the area, according to

Epting’s email. Epting said the armed individual fired random shots from within an empty apartment, and the police were able to take him into custody with no injuries. The OU Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation at this time, Epting said. Scott Kirker




March 12-14, 2018 •



George Stoia, sports editor • phone: 405-325-3666 • Twitter: @OUDailySports

Trae Young considers NBA Draft Sooner star to potentially be one-and-done GEORGE STOIA @georgestoia

Following the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Trae Young will have a choice to make: give up the college lifestyle and play in the NBA, or stay at Oklahoma one more year and continue to be the hometown hero. Currently projected as a top-10 pick, Young is expected to be one of 60 players to walk across the stage at the Barclays Center in New York on June 24. Out of the 4,995 Division I college basketball players in the 2017-2018 season, Young would be in the first percentile drafted — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If Young is taken in the 2018 lottery (first 14 picks), he’s looking at making at least $2.39 million in his rookie season — an offer some might say is too big to reject. For many, it’s a simple decision. The odds are in Young’s favor, and with a chance to live out a lifelong dream, arguably the biggest decision of his life should be a pretty easy one. In the words of LeBron James, “(Young) better go pro.” He would be just 20 when he played his first game in the NBA, but his responsibility would skyrocket. This brings forward the question: Is Young ready to give up being a kid? No more late-night runs to his favorite restaurant, Raising Cane’s — there are only seven NBA cities with Cane’s. No more losing to his current teammates in 2K — though this probably still happens in the NBA. No more 15-minute trips home to see his family on the weekends. No more homecooked meals. No more playing in Norman. For the past eight months, when a basketball hasn’t been in his hands, Young has been an average college student, living the college lifestyle and dealing with the everyday trials of freshman year. He has seen the struggles of writing papers and taking midterms, while also becoming an A-list celebrity around campus. Young will be giving up a lot if he chooses to take his talents to the next level, but it may just be an opportunity he can’t pass up. “ There’s positives on both ends, and those will be weighted as we sit down together and talk about what the pros and cons (are) on either the decision to go or the decision to stay,” said Young’s mother, Candice. “But we will wait until the end of the season and go over all the information we have and make the best decision for Trae and our family.”

... Just 18 miles up I-35 from the Lloyd Noble Center is the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder: Chesapeake Energy Arena. With his family owning season tickets for nine years, Young grew up watching the Thunder — and Hornets for a short period of time — hoping to one day play alongside guys like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Now, Young has the opportunity to play with the stars he idolizes. Come draft day, Young will be exactly 19 years, 10 months and two days old, making him eligible to enter the NBA Draft by the standards of the one-and-done rule that was implemented in 2006. Young would become Oklahoma’s first ever oneand-done player, as former standouts Buddy Hield and


Freshman guard Trae Young smiles after making a basket Feb. 24.

Blake Griffin felt the need to stick around for one or more years. This is a debate young college basketball players have every year — are they ready for the NBA and the responsibility that comes with it? “They told me, even guys like (Russell Westbrook), just to enjoy it,” Young said back in November about playing college basketball. “Whenever you go to the highest level, that’s when it’s a business. Right now, it’s just fun. You’re enjoying it, you’re a college athlete. It’s supposed to be fun, they just always tell me to enjoy it. Don’t rush anything. Just play and have fun, and everything else will take care of itself.” Fast forward five months, and Young has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in college basketball. He has experienced a rollercoaster of a season, something he may not care to go through again. Since 2006, 17 percent of players have decided to ride the college basketball rollercoaster only once, with 123 players drafted as one-anddones. The 2017 draft also marked the highest number, 20, of one-and-dones taken in a single draft. Of those 123 players, 54 percent went in the lottery — just like Young is expected to. Before the one-and-done rule, 43 high school players decided to not even play in college, going straight to the NBA or ABA out of high school. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett are three of the most wellknown players to do this, while Kwame Brown, Robert Swift and Leon Smith were three of the biggest busts in NBA history. “I personally needed those four years,” said Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard and form e r St a n f o rd s t a n d ou t Josh Huestis. “I wouldn’t have been ready after one or even two (years) ... But everybody’s different, so if (Young) feels as if he’s ready, and his family thinks he’s ready, more power to him.” Taken as the No. 29 pick in the 2014 draft, Huestis progressively got better during his four-year career at Stanford, eventually hitting his ceiling his senior year. But what if Young has already hit his college ceiling? Young can always improve his game, but what’s

the point of hanging around for one more year with the risk of falling in the draft? “It’s case-by-case, you can’t really put a blanket over it,” Huestis said. “With his situation, obviously he’s a guy that’s going to be picked high, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to follow your dreams and be in the NBA and make money? That’s the entire reason to go to college, is to get a job and make money, so why pass that up?”

... Following a 29-point, 10-assist performance and a win over then-No. 3 Wichita State on Dec. 16, Young sat down with ESPN college basketball analysts Tom Crean and Rich Hollenberg for a postgame interview. Crean and Hollenberg began comparing Young’s play to that of former NBA MVP and Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry. “Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard,” Young said, as he listed a host of players whose games he emulates. He wasn’t wrong when he said that. He can pass like Paul, shoot like Curry, handle like Irving and score like Lillard. Comparing Young’s freshman season to the best season of each of the players he’s compared to is almost unfair. He beats each of them in almost every category, and none of them were ever able to say they averaged the most points (27.4) and assists (8.8) in the country in one season. With the style of play in the NBA trending toward more 3-pointers and gu a rd - d r i ve n o f f e n s e s, there will always be a need for a player of Young’s caliber. In this year’s draft class alone, Young is easily one of the three most sought-after guards in the draft, along with Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. But the question still remains: How will Young’s unique game translate to the NBA? Players around the league have taken notice of Young ’s performances, with high-profile players like Westbrook, Curry, James and Lillard praising his ability. “He can shoot it very well, pass, plays with a lot of confidence,” said New Orleans

Pelicans center Anthony Davis. “He just (has to) keep going, that’s it ... just keep playing and doing what he’s doing ... It’s up to him and his camp to decide what to do.” Young’s only knock is his size. Standing at 6-foot-2,

180 pounds, Young is roughly 2 inches shorter and 13 pounds lighter than the average current starting point guard in the NBA. If Young were to play in the NBA tomorrow, he would be tied for the ninth-shortest and the fifth-lightest starting point

guard in the league. Players are faster, stronger and bigger in the NBA, something Young has yet to experience. “Just be ready for the game to be kicked up a notch,” Huestis said. “College is one thing, he’s a big fish in a smaller pond, but you get up to the NBA, it’s a different beast.” When the time comes, Young’s decision will have an impact on not only his future but also that of his family, OU, Lon Kruger and young players across the country that will soon be in his same position. “As a mom, the pride that you have in watching your kid achieve the dreams they have, I love that,” Candice Young said. “I’m so excited for him to realize that opportunity. It would also be a dream of mine because, as parents, we also have dreams for our children and when they achieve them, we’re also excited.” Young’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable, and no matter the path he chooses, he’s already left his mark at OU, in Norman and on college basketball. With seven simple words — “I will enter the 2018 NBA Draft” — Young’s life will change forever, fulfilling a dream he’s had since he was 3 years old. “I don’t know what the future’s going to hold for me, but I know what tomorrow is,” Young said. “I’m just going to go out and have fun and leave it all out there for Sooner Nation and for my team.” George Stoia

YOU ARE INVITED! Public Master Classes

Marilyn Horne Former Star of the Metropolitan Opera, praised by critics as having “the greatest voice of the 20th Century”

7-9 p.m. Monday, March 12, and Friday, March 16 Pitman Recital Hall Catlett Music Center OU Fine Arts Free and Open to the Public For more information, go to The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.




• March 12-14, 2018


Sophomore Jasmine Asghar returns a ball on court two Feb. 2. Asghar recorded her first career singles win as a Sooner in this game.

Oklahoma defeats ranked team Women’s tennis makes thrilling comeback for win

showing, eventually defeating No. 40 NC State 4-3. In doubles play, senior Christie Brigante and sophomore Jasmine Asghar were defeated 6-2 at the one spot, CHANDLER WILSON @chandlergwilson and seniors Malene Stripp and Lily Miyazaki fell 6-4 After dropping the dou- from the three. Although NC bles point, the Sooners State had already clinched fought back in an impressive the doubles point, freshman

Camila Romero and senior Simran Sethi played out at the two spot, falling 6-4 as well. The early losses motivated Oklahoma in singles play. Freshman Skyler Miller was quickly defeated in straight sets on court five, 6-1, 6-2, giving the Wolfpack the 2-0 lead. Stripp, court

six, and No. 31 Miyazaki, court one, fought hard to get the Sooners on the board, tying the match at two, both in straight-set wins. Despite Romero falling on court four and giving the lead back to NC State, the Sooners appeared confident. Brigante tied the match for a second time in

a thrilling comeback victory on court three, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1. The win came down to court two where Asghar sealed the fourth point for the Sooners in a hard-fought 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 victory. The match gave the Sooners their first win over a ranked team, improving

them to 6-5 overall. Oklahoma returns home at 4 p.m. CT next Friday at the Headington Family Tennis Center to take on West Virginia in its first Big 12 match of the season. Chandler Wilson

Men’s tennis keeps control CLASSIFIEDS Team improves to 11-1 on season with weekend victories CHANDLER WILSON @chandlergwilson

Oklahoma capped off its second match and win of the weekend with an impressive 4-0 victory over No. 36 Drake. In doubles play, the Sooners brought the energy. Despite close games on all courts, Oklahoma never lost control. On court three, the freshman duo of James Davis and Max Stewart set the tone for the Sooners with a quick 6-4 win. Sophomore Adrian Oetzbach and

junior Ferran Calvo clinched the doubles point for Oklahoma at the two spot, defeating the Bulldogs 6-4 as well. Freshman Jake Van Emburgh and junior Aleksandre Bakshi were down 5-6 when play was halted. Heading into singles, the Sooners appeared relaxed and confident. Oklahoma dominated throughout the first set, winning on every court by a margin of two or more. The team effort continued throughout the remainder of the match. Oetzbach was first to finish for the Sooners, winning in straight-sets on court two, 6-2, 6-0, and extending Oklahoma’s lead to 2-0. In his debut match, freshman

Stefano Tsorotiotis dominated on court six, 6-2, 6-4. Tsorotiotis was excited about his chance at the six spot today. “It feels good,� Tsorotiotis said. “I had a lot of nerves for sure coming out. I wasn’t even expecting to really play. Definitely a deceivingly good team, and I came out and I just kind of thought to myself, you know, whatever happens, happens. Just go out and trust my game.� Coach Nick Crowell was proud of the way Tsorotiotis capitalized on the chance he was given to play today. “S t e f a n o s t e p p e d u p big,� Crowell said. “I knew he would. He was ready for this. He’s been working

really hard in practice and he deserved a chance, and he stepped up and got it. We were really happy for him.� O n c ou r t t h re e, No. 40-ranked Calvo clinched the win for the Sooners in a straight-set victory, 6-3, 6-4. When play was stopped, No. 91 Bakshi at the one and No. 85 Van Emburgh at the four both led 6-4, 5-6, and Stewart was tied up at 6-1, 3-6, 2-1 on court five. The Sooners improved to 11-1 on the season and will continue play against UCLA at 4 p.m. CT this Thursday in Los Angeles. Chandler Wilson

Universal Crossword Edited by Timothy Parker March 12, 2018


Junior Ferran Calvo and sophomore Adrian Oetzbach highfive during their match on March 8.


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LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) -- Trouble will brew at home or with friends or co-workers today. Keep the peace, even if it means spending time on your own. A little pampering will do you good.

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March 12-14, 2018 •

Softball star shares passion

Junior infielder fosters off-field love of photography ABBY BITTERMAN @Abby_Bitterman

Junior third baseman Sydney Romero is leading the Sooners at the plate r i g ht n ow . Sh e ha s t h e highest batting average on the team — .491 — through the first 19 games of the season, but, when she’s not blasting home runs or throwing opponents out at first, Romero is practicing a different hobby: photography. Romero has won backto-back national championships, has started at third base in almost every game the Sooners have played since she arrived on campus and has been a consistent hitter for Oklahoma. For athletes, sports are oftentimes a release from school and the outside world, but competing at such a high level can be a stresser of its own. For Romero, photography is a release. The coaches talk about having something to go to on the side if the players are ever stressed about softball, Romero said, and taking pictures is one of those things for her. She hasn’t done much photography during the season yet, though. “I think what’s the big thing is having a balance, especially in what we do — the season’s so long, we play so many games — have something else to go to,” assistant coach J.T. Gasso said. “Just to take your mind off softball. We try to preach to have something outside of that, so it’s pretty cool that (Romero) uses photography.” She’s always had a passion for photography, but

she hadn’t started using a real camera until the fall. Her sister, Sierra Romero — who played softball at Michigan and now plays professionally for the USSSA Pride — found out about her new interest and used it as inspiration for a Christmas present. “For Christmas, I was trying to think of gifts, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m always big on supporting my siblings and whatever they want to pursue,’” Sierra Romero said. “So I was like, ‘Well, I guess I’ll just get her a camera because I know she’ll use it, and she’ll really love it.’”

“Just to take your mind off softball. We try to preach to have something outside of that, so it’s pretty cool that (Romero) uses photography.” J.T. GASSO, ASSISTANT COACH

When Sydney opened her gift at her home in California, she was excited, Sierra Romero said, and she immediately started playing with the different settings and taking pictures of the rest of her family opening presents. Sydney Romero said she likes to photograph sunsets — of the photos she’s taken so far, her favorite is a picture of a tree with a background that fades from dark blue to a hot orange glow on the horizon line. Her teammates are some of her other favorite subjects right now, she said. Junior second baseman Caleigh Clifton and junior outfielder Kylie Lundberg have already been two of Romero’s subjects when she took photos of them on Clifton’s land in Wayne,

Oklahoma. “I also think it’s awesome that she has something to do outside of softball,” Lundberg said. “It’s a way to get — not away from the field — but (to) also have something interesting that she likes to do.” Romero has made a photography Instagram page to show off her work. She said it was Lundberg’s idea. The page, @sydneyjoy_photography, has more than 3,400 followers, and her photos get 707 likes on average. Romero has posted pictures of Clifton, Lundberg, h e r s i s t e r s a n d o t h e r s. In her most-liked photo, Romero captures her younger sister Sophia on a beach as an intense yellow sun sets, surrounded by a pink sky that fades into a purple hue as it meets the ocean water. “It’s something I enjoy doing away from softball,” Romero said. “Something I go to if I need it.” R o m e ro l i k e s t o t a k e pictures of occasions and relationships — she took photos of J.T. Gasso and his wife Andrea’s gender reveal for their second child. The photos featured Joseph Gasso, the couple’s first child, and pink balloons. In one picture, Joseph is holding the balloons on a small bridge on OU ’s campus with fall trees behind him. Her photo makes good use of photography techniques with the leading lines of the sidewalks, trees and lampposts. In another, she uses depth of field, making Joseph the focus while the balloons and the rest of the background are out of focus. J.T. Gasso was unaware of Romero’s photography skills and didn’t know the photo shoot was happening until his wife showed him the pictures, and he thought it was cool that she had found a hobby outside


For the first time in three years, Baker Mayfield was absent from Oklahoma’s first spring practice, which took place Saturday morning. “It doesn’t feel that much different,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “It’s now a new team with new guys there, and your focus is trying to get those guys better.” The former standout quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner will take his talents to the NFL soon, leaving a void behind center for the Sooners for the first time since 2014. Sophomores Kyler Murray

and Austin Kendall hope to fill that hole, each competing for the opening spot. Murray comes into the spring as the favorite to re p l a c e May f i e l d , p o s sessing a dual-threat abili t y O k l a h o ma t y p i ca l l y doesn’t have. Along with competing for the starting quarterback spot this spring, Murray will also be playing on the diamond for the Sooners’ baseball team. Murray is currently having quite the 24 hours, playing a baseball game Friday night, practicing with the fo otball team Saturday morning and finishing the day off with a baseball doubleheader. “ He’s g o t a b u s y o n e today,” Riley said. “He’s able to transition pretty well between the two.” Kendall, on the other hand, has been preparing

to be the starter for over a year, redshirting last year and getting all the reps on the scout team. While many see Murray and Kendall in an intense competition for the starting job, Kendall doesn’t view it that way. “I just don’t want to make it bigger than it is,” Kendall said. “Both of us are just going out here and competing every day. I go out here and work every day like I can, and so does he.” Kendall and Murray aren’t the only two battling for a starting spot, though. Two positions have also opened up on the offensive line, including the one snapping the ball to either Murray or Kendall. Senior Jonathan Alvarez and freshman Creed Humphrey are both looking to be the center for the Sooners, with the

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Junior infielder Sydney Romero poses with her Canon camera. Romero has discovered she enjoys photography when she is not playing on the field.

of softball. “Sometimes you get so wrapped up in this that you don’t know beyond,” he said. “I was impressed, more than anything.” Right now, Romero just takes pictures of her friends for fun, but she’s hoping to start getting clients after she talks to Oklahoma’s compliance department, which is designed to make sure student-athletes and the athletic department are complying with NCAA

regulations. The compliance office can determine whether Romero would violate any NCAA rules if she were to take on clients, as athletes typically aren’t allowed to accept money while playing. “Right now, it’s more for fun,” Romero said. “(I’m) just getting better at it.” Abby Bitterman

graduation of Erick Wren. Humphre y and Alvarez both redshirted last year, and while Alvarez has seen the field more during his career, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is expecting a tough fight. “ That ’s g o i ng t o b e a good one, it’s going to be fun to watch,” Bedenbaugh said. “I think it will be a competition all the way through the summer, I really do.” The Sooners will also have to replace AllAmerican left tackle Orlando Brown, a spot that junior right tackle Bobby Evans believes he can easily slide into. “It’s a little bit different just because I was getting used to the right, but you’ve got to be able to do both,” Evans said. “Technique is pretty much the same, just

the stance is different.” While quarterback and offensive line will have holes to fill, Oklahoma won’t be short any skill players with plenty of returning running backs and wide receivers. Ju n i o r r u n n i n g b a c k Rodney Anderson was one of the Sooners’ top offensive weapons down the stretch last season, and despite speculations of him possibly leaving for the NFL Draft, he said he still has a job to finish. “I just came back to help my team win a national championship,” Anderson said. “I had work to do here, there’s a lot of things I had left ... The ultimate goal is to win a national championship for this university.”

ABBY BITTERMAN @Abby_Bitterman

Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be honored April 13, and, if the invitations are any indication, it looks like the Sooners are going all out. The event is scheduled for the day before the Sooners’ spring game, to which current coach Lincoln Riley has said he hopes to draw 80,000 fans. Former Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard tweeted a video

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of the invitation, which includes a video of Stoops. The event will take place at the Bennet Event Center at the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, with cocktails starting at 6 p.m. and the program beginning at 7 p.m. Toby Keith, Sooner fan and native of Moore, Oklahoma, is set to perform, and a statue of Stoops will be unveiled. In 18 seasons, Stoops led the Sooners to 10 conference titles, one College Football Playoff appearance and a national championship in 2000. Abby Bitterman

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Bob and Carol Stoops wave to the crowd at halftime during the game against Texas Tech on Oct. 28, 2017. Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be honored April 13.



• March 12-14, 2018


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Q&A with Puterbaugh Fellow German author speaks on current news, writing work

performed tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. It’s nice to see people who are so far away are interested in the things I am writing about. It’s an honor.



World Literature Today’s annual Puterbaugh Festival brings best-selling authors from around the world to OU and gives them the opportunity to meet and impact OU students. This year’s Puterbaugh Fellow is the German author Jenny Erpenbeck, author of “The End of Days” and “Go, Went, Gone.” Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? A: I didn’t want to become a writer because, as you perhaps know, I come from a family of writers. My grandparents were writers, and my father wrote fiction. My mother was a literary translator for Arabic books. Everyone was sitting at some desk, and I tried my best to avoid ending up at some desk. But, as you can see, I couldn’t succeed. I studied opera directing, and I became an opera director. I did some 15 productions of operas, and only then I switched slowly to literature. I sent one manuscript to someone, and then it was

Q: At the opening reception, all of your awards were read out loud, and people brought up the idea that the Nobel Prize might be in your future. How does all of this praise make you feel? A: I think, perhaps it’s a bit too much expectation. Of course, it’s very nice. But in a way, you don’t have to get the award anymore when people think you could get it, you know. It’s enough. I’ve gotten a lot of prizes, and it is always very nice. Sometimes, it also helps in terms of economics, but it doesn’t help your writing. VIA WIKIMEDIA The writing stays difficult. If German author Jenny Erpenbeck is this year’s Puterbaugh Fellow. She is the focus of this year’s Puterbaugh Festival at OU. you are sitting at your desk printed and was my first our cities and in the so-called reason to accept all of them show our society from their all alone, no prize helps your book, and so on and so on. It “our world,” but they are very in Europe just because of perspective, which I think is writing. It’s kind of nice and was not like I wanted to be- far apart from each other, the capsizing. It’s a pity.’ also very important. So, I just honoring, but it has nothing to do with the real writing. It come a writer. It’s a wonder- and that — there is some- And I thought this was not started. doesn’t answer questions. ful profession, but I didn’t thing wrong about it. These an appropriate reaction to imagine myself as a writer. two worlds should somehow the accident. So, I thought Q: What does it mean to A collection of be connected again. In 2013, someone from the so-called you to be the Puterbaugh Erpenbeck’s nonfiction work Q: In your book “G o, there was an accident where middle of the society should Fellow this year? Went, Gone,” you focus on one of the refugee boats cap- take his or her time, I guess A: It’s a big honor, as it will be published this fall. the European refugee crisis. sized and hundreds of peo- her time, to just deal with it seems. There are so many She is currently planning her Why did you feel you needed ple drowned. In the newspa- and show the people that it people involved in orga- next novel. to write a book on that? pers, the journalists would is worth spending time ex- nizing all of these events A: I got the impression the just write, ‘Okay, this was ploring who these people and gatherings. Students world of the refugees that bad, but they shouldn’t all are, what the reasons are are reading my books, and Sam Tonkins (since) 2013 have been in come to Europe. That’s no why they came and also to there will even be a ballet

Popcorn shop proves importance of plans Local business owner expands after class project TIM HATTON @nottahmit

Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn is decorated with an air of nostalgia. It’s full of buckets and tins waiting to be filled with popcorn. Posters of comic book superheroes and old films line its walls, and the store offers cold soda in glass bottles and varieties of candy for sale. The overall effect recalls childhood and the movies — an apt choice for a popcorn store. Its decor and layout suggest Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn has been in business for years, a place for grandparents to show their grandchildren what life was like in the good old days. But, in fact, the company is not yet two years old. Even more impressively, its founder opened it right out of college. In the fall of 2015, D.J. Boles was a senior at Oklahoma State University and was taking a class called “Retail Management.” One of his

assignments was to write a business plan. Boles had wanted to own a movie theater his whole life, but his professor encouraged him to write a plan for a more unconventional or niche business. Drawing inspiration from movie theaters and his dad’s work for a concessions supply company, Boles decided to write his assignment about a popcorn store. He called it “Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn.” “Midway through writing it, I thought, ‘I could maybe actually do this.’” Boles said. “That paper actually got me my business loan for this store.” While still in college, Boles leased a retail space at 1021 SW 19th St. in Moore for his company. After graduating from Oklahoma State in May 2016, he spent the summer buying popcorn-making equipment and learning how to use it. Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn opened Aug. 2 of that year, nine months after Boles came up with the idea. The company offers more than 60 flavors of popcorn, from sweet — Oreo, the best-selling variety — to spicy — jalapeño cheddar, Boles’

personal favorite. Each one is available in a variety of sizes, from mini bags that hold about 3 cups to extra-large buckets that hold more than 6 gallons. Prices range from $1.25 for a mini bag of original popcorn to $119.95 for an extra-large bucket, which contains 110 cups of popcorn, of one of the store’s chocolate varieties. Cambrye Moore, a sophomore at the University of Central Oklahoma, has worked at Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn since it opened in 2016. She said she’s been impressed by how much customers appreciate the business. “I always have fun whenever I come here,” Moore said. “People always leave here really happy. It’s always a happy environment.” One such customer is Sandy Flaming, a regular at the store. She said the popcorn is her go-to gift for any number of occasions. “They’ve got everything,” Flaming said. “I can buy (popcorn) for any age, my nephews love this. It’s just good. Good people are working here, and good people run this place.”

The inside of Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn in Moore on March 8.

Boles takes special pride in his work at Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn because he both owns and operates the company. “A lot of people, when they hear you have a business, they automatically think you’re rich and you have the life,” Boles said. “But, in fact, you start out with no money.

You work all the time, and you have to put everything you have into it.” After more than a year and a half in business, Boles shows no signs of slowing down. In December 2017, Oklahoma Gourmet Popcorn opened a second location at 3209 S. Broadway in Edmond. Talking about his business’


fast growth now, Boles still seems surprised. “That paper was supposed to be a paper, that was not supposed to be my actual plan,” he said. “But I got lucky.” Tim Hatton

Hideaway Pizza hosts educational meetup OKC Zoo, Okies For Monarchs partner for event TIM HATTON @nottahmit

The Oklahoma City Zoo and the conservation group Okies For Monarchs will offer free pizza samples as part of an event they are hosting at Hideaway Pizza in Norman on March 13. The event, Monarch Meetup, will provide the public with the opportunity to learn more about monarch butterflies and other pollinating insects. Attendees will be given free seed kits to help them start their own gardens to support pollinators, as well as information on how to volunteer with the zoo’s

conservation efforts. Rebecca Snyder, curator of conservation and science at the Oklahoma City Zoo, will speak at the event about the important ecological role of pollinating insects. “I’m looking forward to meeting people in the community and talking to them about why monarchs and other pollinators are important, and how (people) can get involved,” Snyder said. “We’re hoping to just get the word out and raise some excitement about this whole campaign.” Hideaway Pizza is currently offering a limited-edition pizza, “The Pollinator,” which features a honey drizzle as well as pepperoni, capicola, salami and banana peppers, to support Okies For Monarchs. The pizza will be available through May 14 at

all eighteen Hideaway locations, and the chain will donate 10 percent of sales from the pizza to the conservation group. The event in Norman is scheduled from 5–7 p.m. on March 13 at Campus Corner’s Hideaway Pizza, located on 577 Buchanan Ave. There is no charge to attend, and free samples of “The Pollinator” will be available. An additional Monarch Meetup will be held from 5–7 p.m. on April 10 at the Hideaway Pizza in Yukon, located on 1701 Shedeck Parkway. More information is available at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s website. Tim Hatton


“The Pollinator” pizza from Hideaway Pizza on Campus Corner in Norman.

March 12-14, 2018  
March 12-14, 2018