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Issue 19, Volume 82

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NEWS

Guns on campus

One state representative has proposed firearms should be more readily available, but some students disagree. | PG. 3

COVER

Tired of Trump?

When the Super Bowl came to town, so did swarms of protestors angry at the travel ban. | PG. 4

OPINION

Rise of machines

The debate on whether humans are prepared to live in a world of automation continues. One columnist isn't so sure. | PG. 8

Tampons, please

The Cougar Editorial Board implores the University to offer free hygiene products in women's bathrooms. | PG. 8

SPORTS

Major recruits

After turbulent changes in staff, the football team picked up 17 commits this week on National Signing Day. | PG. 9

Looking forward

For UH Softball's new coach, preparing for the future means looking back to successes in her past. | PG. 11

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NEWS

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Marialuisa Rincon, EDITOR

STATE

'Guns everywhere' philosophy inspires controversy JULIE ARAICA

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @JULIEARAICA

On Aug. 1, 2016, Texas Senate bill No. 11 went into effect, authorizing licensed holders to carry a concealed handgun at institutions of higher education. This law, popularly known as “campus carry,” was passed during a legislative session in 2015 with another law that allows for the open carry of handguns. In the upcoming legislative session, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland is hoping to pass House bill 375 that will allow lawful possession of a firearm in Texas without taxes, training requirements or licensing. “Unlicensed open carry is another name for constitutional carry and has been in the works for some time. Campus carry was simply a preliminary entrée to it. This is well known,” said Alex Colvin, a history senior. “It is not, however, a law the majority of Americans want. It is what the National Rifle Association (NRA) wants in order to help gun sales and gun manufacturers; it has never been about what the Constitution says about the right to carry.”

'No place' on campus

Campus carry went into effect last semester, without notice from some students. Education freshman Alexander Iglesias said that his first semester at UH passed without any worries about campus carry and that it isn’t something he usually thinks about. “It doesn’t even really cross my mind that people on campus might be carrying a gun until I see a sign somewhere that prohibits them,” Iglesias said. “There are already so many things I have to worry about as a college student, and getting possibly shot at school shouldn’t be one of them. I think that guns have no place on a college campus.” Colvin believes that Iglesias’s concerns are shared by many students on campus, leading him to petition Senate Bill 11 and create a closed Facebook group called "Gun Free UH." Another group on campus, known as Students For Campus Carry at UH, advocates for concealed campus carry. They

said they have no opinion on constitutional carry. Physics freshman Reed Masek is apathetic toward campus carry and thinks that if people wish to carry a concealed handgun on campus, they have every right to do so. “If the law says that they can, then they can,” Masek said. “People will bring guns whether they’re allowed to or not, and if some people think that carrying a gun with them on campus will make them feel safer, then why stop them?”

Rules for a reason

Statistics collected by Students for Concealed Carry found that college-aged Texas License to Carry (LTC) holders had their licenses revoked at a much lower rate than other age group. However, individuals between 18 and 20 can obtain a license only if they are a veteran of the U.S. armed forces. The median age at UH is currently 22 years old, meaning that a good portion of the student body can legally obtain an LTC. Although Masek is fine with campus carry, he is strongly against constitutional carry. “There are rules and regulations for a reason, getting a gun shouldn’t be an easy process because having a gun is such a huge responsibility,” Masek said. “That’s almost as bad as saying that we shouldn’t require people to have licenses to drive a car, it makes no sense. If this bill is passed and then campus carry is changed and allows people to carry concealed handguns without a license, I don’t know if I’ll feel safe on campus anymore.” The proposal has many critics, including Ed Scruggs, the vice chair of the Board for Texas Gun Sense. According to an article, Scruggs believes that the bill would repeal needed requirements — continuing down a path that allowed for campus carry. "Basically, it just trashes every gun regulation in the state. It trashes every safety regulation in the state," Scruggs said. "There would really be no reason to have a licensing or permitting system at all." Scruggs said that Strickland is a proponent of what he calls the “guns everywhere” philosophy, which is the belief that anyone should be able to

Some places on campus, such as housing and , are exclusion zones, places where concealed handguns are not allowed. | Julie Araica/The Cougar

carry anywhere and that doing so makes the world a safer place. Iglesias strongly disagrees with this statement. “All we are doing with that mentality is breeding more fear and creating an environment of unease,” Iglesias said. “I believe that one of the reasons open carry isn’t allowed on campus is because that just generates this public fear. I don’t think that any public place should allow that type of fear to exist.” In a three-part piece Colvin wrote for Gun Free UH, he said that the campus carry laws were manufactured

by the NRA as the “Campus Personal Protection Act” some years ago and adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and they have been pushed by lawmakers in statehouses ever since. “These laws are not an example of the people petitioning their elected representatives for laws they want; they are an example of corporate interests and their foot soldiers in the statehouses imposing their will on the electorate, against the public,” Colvin said. news@thedailycougar.com

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4 | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

NEWS 713-743-5314

thedailycougar.com/news 

news@thedailycougar.com 

Marialuisa Rincon, EDITOR

“I’m here today to protest Donald Trump and his insane policies,” Alissa Kesleman said. “I’ll be ready to protest anything I disagree with. I mean, I’m going to be pretty busy, man.” | Traynor Swanson/The Cougar

NATION

Protesters make presence known at Super Bowl TRAYNOR SWANSON

STAFF WRITER @TRAYNORSWANSON

As thousands of football fans descended upon NRG Park on Sunday afternoon, anti-Trump protesters marched from Hermann Park to the site of Super Bowl LI. The HoustonResists Rally and March gathered at Hermann Park at noon Sunday to demonstrate and express grievances against President

countries entry into the United States. “I am against racially discriminating against people,” said Elise Gilman, a post-graduate accounting student at UH. “And I’m particularly against a ban based on nationalities of people who cannot enter our borders, particularly for countries we have entered and fought in while trying to make them better. We can’t bomb them and then ban them.”

“I’m particularly against a ban based on nationalities of people who cannot enter our borders. We can’t bomb them and then ban them.” Elise Gilman, Demonstrator Donald Trump before marching roughly two miles down Fannin Street to NRG Park, where they stayed on a barricaded sidewalk for several hours. The demonstration featured a coalition of causes, including Black Lives Matter, Resist Trump, and elements of the anti-fascist “black bloc.” One key objection was to Trump’s executive order that temporarily barred refugees from seven Muslim-majority

The U.S. Federal Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco rejected a request by the Justice Department to restore the travel ban early Sunday after a Federal District Court in Seattle blocked the order on Friday. According to the Washington Post, the travel ban affected around 90,000 people. “This movement needs support and money. Money is power. I mean, money is how

Trump happened,” Gilman said. “I firmly believe that protesting gets us out where politicians can see us, and that’s powerful.” While most passersby on the sidewalk moved past the demonstration unabatedly, others expressed support for the demonstration by honking their car horns or joining the chants and pumping their fists as they walked toward the stadium entrance. Still, an occasional passerby expressed disdain toward the demonstration. The protesters were eventually joined by anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, known as water protectors. The movement was dealt a blow Jan. 24 when Trump signed an executive order expediting construction of the pipeline. “What it comes down to is Native Americans have been suffering for centuries,” said demonstrator Hannah Carrell. “And it’s not even just about the atrocities that are being committed against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It’s for people’s rights to drink clean water that isn’t polluted with oil, and it’s about our Earth. Our dependence on fossil fuels needs to be broken.” Alissa Keselman, who protested several times since

"I came out to represent the anti-fascists, and I ain't gonna lie, I'm looking for black bloc tactics," said Erik McClaskey, who demonstrated at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in November. "We gotta fight back now. We gotta fight this corporate world." | Traynor Swanson/The Cougar

Trump’s inauguration, said that she is ready to protest frequently for the next four years. “I’m here today to protest Donald Trump and his insane

policies,” Kesleman said. “And I’ll be ready to protest anything I disagree with. I mean, I’m going to be pretty busy, man.” news@thedailycougar.com


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OPINION

opinion@thedailycougar.com

Thomas Dwyer, EDITOR

ETHICS

Politicians should not use children as political props

EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR IN CHIEF

Trey Strange

MANAGING EDITOR

Alex Meyer

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Leah Nash

OPINION EDITORS

Thomas Dwyer Jorden Smith ARTS EDITORS

Karis Johnson Karin Keller PHOTO EDITORS

WEB EDITOR

Emily Burleson NEWS EDITORS

Marialuisa Rincon Julia Araica Jasmine Davis SPORTS EDITORS

Justin Cross Ajani Stewart SENIOR STAFF

Camille Mullery Katie Santana Peter Scamardo

Leonard D. Gibson III JD Smith

STAFF EDITORIAL The Staff Editorial reflects the opinions of The Cougar Editorial Board (the members of which are listed above the editorial). All other opinions, commentaries and cartoons reflect only the opinion of the author. Opinions expressed in The Cougar do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Houston or the students as a whole.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Cougar welcomes letters to the editor from any member of the UH community. Letters should be no more than 250 words and signed, including the author’s full name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Anonymous letters will not be published. Deliver letters to N221, University Center; e-mail them to letters@thedailycougar.com; send them via campus mail to STP 4015; or fax to (713) 743-5384. Letters are subject to editing.

GUEST COMMENTARY Submissions are accepted from any member of the UH community and must be signed with the author’s name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Commentary should be limited to 500 words. Guest commentaries should not be written as replies, but rather should present independent points of view. Deliver submissions to N221, University Center; e-mail them to letters@thedailycougar.com; or fax them to (713) 743-5384. All submissions are subject to editing.

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P

oliticians love to make you feel with them. They want you to be blasted with the same emotions that they are purportedly feeling. And to do this politicians parade children in front of audiences to evoke the “think of the children” JORDEN thoughts that SMITH so permeate ASSISTANT OPINION EDITOR today’s political rhetoric. It is the lowest form of persuasion. And it needs to stop, now. Last week, as the protests against President Trump raged throughout the country’s airports, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer trotted out children to stand behind him as he delivered an “emotional” speech to the press. Chuck Schumer should never be listened to again because of this. Nor should any politician who does this, no matter what side of the aisle that politician is on. They’re not arguing the facts; they’re arguing emotion. The “think of the children” tactic has gone way too far at this point. It’s used at every turn to make people feel, not to actually think. Politicians use it for everything and it’s breaking down political persuasion. Whenever Obama wanted to further his gun control legislation, the kids would be called in to remind everyone to think of the children and how they need us to protect them. Whenever someone on the right wants to spend more on the military and continue to bomb ISIS, they remind everyone to think of the children and their safety. Both sides are using the think of the children argument to further their arguments about Trump’s ban. Liberals are worried about the children who are refugees and from other countries. Conservatives are worried about the possible terrorist attacks on the American children. It’s tiresome. And it doesn’t actually talk about the issue at hand. When a politician uses this argument, it is ultimately because they have nothing else to say; all their other arguments have been defeated by logic or it's just easier to use emotion. It doesn’t make the argument stronger. There is no reliance on any sort of facts. It’s all about emotion, and when emotion gets infused into politics, politics

The "think of the children" tactic has gone way too far at this point. Any politician who does that should be disregarded. | Tamor Khan/The Cougar

gets dangerous. And it’s not just when politicians are signing bills and giving press conferences to the drooling media. In 2013, Fox News reported that there had been an increase in politicians using children in ads. This is the worst thing that could happen to the

current political scene. The last election had the “Our Children are Watching” ad to hit at Trump. Why does it matter what the children are feeling? It’s politics, not the playground. Groups are also using children to get across their political messages. During the Super Bowl,

both Audi and 84 Lumber used the children to get their political messages across. Forgetting the fact that politicizing the Super Bowl is just stupid and everyone is tired of it and just wants to watch football, it’s ridiculous that these companies would feel compelled to use children to get their message across. If they wanted to integrate politics into their commercials, make an actual argument, don’t use children. Politicians do it because it works. Stop letting it work. Start calling out politicians whenever they use children to try and further themselves. They shouldn’t be listened to at the least and they should be shunned at the most. This is the lowest form of politics and it needs to stop. assistant opinion editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing junior and can be reached at opinion@thedailycougar. com

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OPINION 713-743-5304

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opinion@thedailycougar.com 

Thomas Dwyer, EDITOR

ROBOTS

Automation is the unavoidable future of the economy

W

e’re currently at 4.9 percent unemployment, and it’s only because machines are not smart or cheap enough to replace us. The motto of entrepreneurship incubators is HUGO SALINAS “disrupt your STAFF COLUMNIST industry,” which really means “introduce technology to an established industry.” Uber decimated taxis and public transportation. Amazon Now brought two-hour delivery to large metropolitan areas. Google is advancing its machine learning algorithms along with its consumer AI. So far, these services have managed to improve our quality of life without negative impacts to our economy. However, the systems, infrastructure and technology that power these services are still in their infancy. Our economy is about to experience a change as dramatic as the industrial revolution.

The economy has evolved before Automation has been threatening to take our jobs since the cotton gin. And it has, but new, better jobs have come along. When agriculture was automated, our economy changed. No longer was it necessary to have 40 percent of our workforce performing manual labor. This freed up the necessary workforce to allow the industrial revolution to take off and manufacturing jobs took over as the American employer. The industrial revolution was also a technological revolution. It allowed automation to build cars, air conditioners, or any product significantly cheaper while requiring less human involvement. The economy adjusted. As these middle-class manufacturing jobs left our economy, we attempted to adjust. However, our middle class has suffered and continues to be in decline. How long before automation takes a more significant role in our economy and lives?

The current situation Uber has become the ubiquitous transportation application. Since Uber’s pricing became competi-

tive it's garnered more customers, and its service has become significantly more convenient. What most don’t know is that Uber operates at a loss. Every year, the company loses money but continues to be the most popular transportation app with no signs of slowing down. The long-term business plan isn’t eventually paying drivers less; it's eventually not paying them at all. Uber is banking on self-driving cars to become commercially available in the next few years. An entire fleet of cars that need no sleep, are constantly available and run on electricity. Retail companies have made their logistical processes as automated and intelligent as possible. Amazon Now and Amazon GO are services that are recent, and both function to connect a costumer to a product as quickly and as easily as possible. Amazon Now is a two-hour delivery service, and it's amazing. You can order 80 percent of your grocery needs, an Xbox controller and batteries and have them delivered to your door two hours later. Amazon’s logistics process is the most advanced in the world, meaning that it's the most auto-

mated. Amazon GO is a brick-andmortar store that doesn’t need cashiers. When a customer walks in, they scan their phone, grab the food they want and walk out. Depending on their logistics process, Amazon might even have machines stocking the shelves as well.

The future of automation Machine learning is the software side of automation. Google has been working on a project called Deepmind. This software learns any task by running billions of simulations, adjusting the variables it’s allowed, and without instructions, quickly learning the most effective ways to accomplish its goal. This process allows it to approach problems in ways humans would never think of. It’s most recent accomplishment is winning a game of GO, against the best player in the world. A step above Chess (as it's believed you need a sense of intuition to win). These systems can be taught to program, write papers and design complex structures, as well as take restaurant orders, provide better automated customer

service, do research and design better versions of themselves. Machine learning software can learn to write news articles by reading millions of reports to understand human writing patterns. It will be able to quickly draft summaries for press conferences and speeches. Bias can even be programmed in. Innovation and automation are an unavoidable future. Profit drives innovation, and no matter what the effect it has on the middle class, companies will not stop automating processes. Our politicians are concerned with coal and manufacturing jobs that are already obsolete and fail to see the future that's looming. Our economy is not prepared for a future in which the unemployment rate is constantly high or a people no longer need to work 40-hour weeks. Companies will continue to reduce overhead by cutting away the inefficient, prone to error fat that hinders profits. Since machines run pretty lean, the only fat I see is us. Hugo Salinas is a MIS senior and a regular contributor to Cooglife magazine. He can be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

STAFF EDITORIAL

The University should offer free tampons, pads

A

s Houston Cougars, we bleed red — in more ways than one. Not everyone bleeds once a month. A variety of factors such as sex, age, pregnancy, birth control and other factors like weight and diet can prevent menstrual cycles. But the experience is so prevalent and so inconvenient that products used to contain its effects, like tampons and pads, should be available throughout campus restrooms and free. Women and others who menstruate are ubiquitously expected to be prepared when the bleeding starts by carrying their own products. Smartphone apps like Clue can help people track their periods and estimate when their next cycles will start, and regular PMS symptoms allow some people to guess that timing down to the hour. But still, human bodies are frustratingly unpredictable. Eighty-six percent of menstruating people have been caught unprepared by a

period while in public, according to non-profit Free the Tampons. The University of Houston is illequipped to handle menstruation. Students have just three options once realizing their cycle has started. Option One: Hope the restroom they’ve run into has a dispenser, which also happens to be working, which also happens to be stocked. The student must also happen to be carrying a quarter with them into the bathroom. The Student Government Association conducted a full review of campus bathrooms, and Deputy Chief of Staff Winni Zhang said they found more than 60 percent had neglected, broken or missing dispensers. When Option One fails, products are available for sale at campus convenience stores at $3.49 for a pack of ten. Getting through the day's public appearances typically requires only one or two products, so students are paying $3.49, plus tax, for one day when they choose

Option Two. Option three? Trek across UH to the Wellness Center (housed within the Campus Rec), where pads and tampons are free to use. Tucked away in the corner of campus, the Rec is furthest away from the classroom buildings students frequent most. In December 2016, the Student Government Association created a fourth option. In a two-week trial run, its representatives stocked pads and tampons in women’s and family bathrooms at the Student Center in small baskets. According to Zhang, who led the effort, the trial was a huge hit. Some students even donated their own extra products to the countertop baskets, she said. This program should be expanded throughout campus and integrated into UH Facilities’ operating budget. That our student representatives deemed it necessary to donate their time to restocking menstrual products every four hours for two weeks is

amazing, but it should not be their responsibility. Yes, there is a cost associated with addressing this problem. However, the University should consider tampons and pads just as necessary to student wellness as toilet paper, soap and paper towels. The products should be restocked as bathrooms are cleaned each night by janitors, not by students in SGA. Several other universities have implemented such a plan. The University of Minnesota and University of Nebraska at Lincoln, among others, offer free menstrual products. In July, the state of New York began offering free products in all public schools, homeless shelters and female prisons, prompting Brown University’s student government to embark on a similar mission. At UH, we’re uniquely poised to set a precedent for the entire state. No other Texas university offers free pads or tampons. Texas State

University stopped restocking dispensers in 2010 because they lacked funding. As a public institution, investing taxpayer monies on necessary hygiene products can set a standard for other state agencies and private businesses’ policies. For too long, feminine bleeding has been a roadblock to education. Historically and even today, many girls are barred from attending school during their menstrual cycles. They’re deemed unclean and unfit to exist in a public sphere. It would be fitting to counteract these practices by completely preventing a period from interrupting students’ educations at UH. If funding is a problem, perhaps the University should consider adding “Daily Student Hygiene” to its limited list of priorities donors can choose from to target their philanthropy. Until then, it will be clear the University’s priorities don’t lie with student necessities. editor@thedailycougar.com


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OPINION

opinion@thedailycougar.com

Thomas Dwyer, EDITOR

FIRST AMENDMENT

Freedom of speech works both ways on campus For the sake of discourse, citizens using their rights properly must not be silenced

F

rederick Douglass said: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Everyone has the same right to use their First Amendment right as long as they can do it in the proper place with proper consent. Even if they are proclaiming hateful rhetoric. Just the same way that someone who disagrees can set up across the street DELANEY CATLETTSTOUT and publicly SGA COLUMNIST disagree. During our time in college we are exposed to a whole new world. As an out of state student from

Missouri, coming to the University of Houston was the first time I saw such a diverse population in such a concentrated area. This diversity is something that draws many to this University — not just the variety of race and religion, but the variety of thought. This diversity of thought is something often extremely underrated in our academic community. American universities are spaces where ideas are raised, where we learn and begin to understand our freedoms, our freedoms to be an individual and our freedoms to speak our minds. The free-speech-on-campus argument often comes from a conservative platform. Conservatives have been fighting to make sure their leaders have a platform

to speak. One of these controversial leaders is Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos performs a far-right comedy show that minimizes sexual assault, domestic violence, feminism and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. While many don’t agree with Milo’s sentiments, he does have the right to speak. A common misconception is that free speech and assembly are allowed everywhere. A plethora of Supreme Court cases and years of policies in the making has slowly put limits on our right to free speech and assembly. Some of those limits include: libel, slander, fighting words and national security. A college campus often

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Continues on next page

American universities are spaces where ideas are raised, where we learn and begin to understand our freedoms to be individuals who speak our minds. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar


8 | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

OPINION 713-743-5304

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Continued from previous page creates zones of free speech. One of these zones on the UH campus is in front of the library in Butler Plaza. This is why you often see the group of middle-aged white men with signs accusing students of witchcraft, adultery and sin. However, this assemblage is not acceptable throughout campus. The Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian organization that began in 2008, started a movement to tear down the idea of freespeech zones on campus to allow for students to exercise their rights anywhere and everywhere. The issue with this is that that is not the reality. The freedoms protected by the First Amendment have their limits. There is a chapter established at UH. Freedom of assembly is often met with filling out city paperwork to meet the requirements set by city code for safety.

thedailycougar.com/opinion 

The same standard is held for universities who lack the adequate funding for a campus police force that can handle

opinion@thedailycougar.com 

Thomas Dwyer, EDITOR

given a platform at the University. He is given the right to speak. What many people forget

“People from all sides of the political spectrum share the same basic rights. Whether that is protesting a president or hosting a controversial speaker, the right to speak one's mind should hold value.” Delaney Catlettstout, Student Government Association columnist large crowds or does not want to risk intervening and further agitating protesters. However, in most instances, Milo has the proper approval to host gatherings and events for people to hear his show. He often gets invited and sponsored by the College Republicans. By being sponsored by a registered student organization, he has been

is that freedom of speech is a two-way street and often comes with consequences. Just as Milo has the right to speak, offended students have the right to resist or counter his sentiments. This does not condone the actions of the Berkeley protesters who rioted and prevented Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus, but it serves as a reminder that both

sides have a voice and have rights. But both sides face the consequences. Berkeley protesters may get arrested or kicked out to school for defacing property or breaking school policies. Their speech, however, is protected. If Yiannopoulos or other prominent leaders spew racists comments or marginalize a community, the marginalized have every right to speak out and demand that the person be held accountable. If a high-level official at a university said racist comments, they could be fired. Not because they don’t have the right to speak their mind, but because they, as an employee, no longer represent the interests of the university or the students. Universities should foster civic discourse and diversity of thought. However, as students, we must remember that with freedom comes responsibility. Everyone has the right to say what they want, but this does not free them from

the consequences of their statements. Even if ones does not agree with Yiannopoulos, his freedom should be respected and acknowledged. By being open to acknowledging his rights opens the gates for student to engage civic discourse, question ideas, and respect others freedoms without name calling or insults. Liberals calling for justice and providing legal pushback against Milo are not crying snowflakes and not all conservatives who entertain Milo’s rhetoric are misogynistic, racist, neo-nazis. This type of name calling, while one’s right, deters from civic discourse and progress. People from all sides of the political spectrum share the same basic rights and whether that is protesting a president or hosting a controversial speaker, the right to speak your mind, should hold value. Delaney Catlettstout is a political science senior and can be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017 | 9

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SPORTS

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Leonard D. Gibson III, EDITOR

FOOTBALL

2017 recruiting class joins the H-town takeover LEONARD D. GIBSON III

SPORTS EDITOR @LEONARDDGIBSON

National Signing Day last Wednesday saw the Houston Cougars adding 17 players to head coach Major Applewhite’s first recruiting class. With four spots still open, the Cougars sit at No. 76 nationally and No. 5 in the American Athletic Conference, per Rivals’ ranking. Central Florida, Cincinnati, Memphis and South Florida are all ahead of the Cougars, with Navy tying them at No. 76. According to 247 Sports, Houston is No. 69 nationally and No. 4 in the AAC, behind UCF, Memphis, and Cincinnati, respectively. “Like 127 other coaches, this is the greatest class we’ve ever had,” said Applewhite in a news conference last Wednesday. “I feel very good in terms of the foundation of the kids that are coming in. Winning programs, winning values, and also, in the end, getting some guys that are going to help us on the field.” The highest-ranked recruit for the Cougars was Bryan Jones. The 6-foot-5-inch, 240-pound defensive

end from Baton Rouge, Louisiana was the Cougars’ only four-star recruit, according to ESPN and Rivals. He was ranked as the No. 11 defensive end and the No. 11 overall player in Louisiana by Rivals. Jones had initially committed to Ole Miss but de-committed in October. He visited both Houston and Texas A&M in January before committing with the Cougars on Jan. 29. Houston’s trend of dual-threat quarterbacks from John Tyler High School continues with Bryson Smith. Following the path of Greg Ward Jr., Smith took the No. 1 jersey and is already under pressure to perform on the same level. “It seems like everybody that we got from John Tyler has been an all-conference player for us or better. So I would expect nothing different from (Smith). I am going to put pressure on him because I think he can be really good,” said Applewhite. “That guy’s an extreme competitor.” Smith, 5 feet 11 inches, 170 pounds, was ranked as the No. 20 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN. In his senior year,

Applewhite is still looking for potential players, primarily a cornerback or an offensive lineman, to round out the 2017 recruiting class. | Reagan Earnst / The Cougar

he threw for 3,227 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 1,653 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Cougars also signed David Anenih, a linebacker from Mansfield Timberview High School. Anenih’s mother and father live in Nigeria while he lives with his aunt and uncle who have four children of their own. Anenih stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds. He was named to his district’s first team and received an All-State honorable mention. He’s expected to play outside linebacker.

The Cougars picked up D.J. Small from Dickinson, Texas to add some depth to the cornerback position. Small didn’t play varsity football until his senior year in high school, but despite only playing for one year, he was named to his district’s first team. “For not having a tremendous amount of experience on the field, (Small is) very productive and has great instincts for the game,” said Applewhite. The 5-foot-9-inch, 160-pound cornerback was a two-star recruit according to Rivals and 247 Sports.

With the four remaining spots, Applewhite is looking to sign another cornerback and an offensive lineman. He is interested in an experienced cornerback possibly transferring from another school to fill the gap in the 2018 season. Even though this incoming class will be far younger and less experienced, Applewhite believes they have the potential to contend for starting positions. “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough,” Applewhite said. The 2017 recruiting class took a major hit with the departure of Tom Herman to the University of Texas. In the months of November, December and January alone, 11 players de-committed from the Cougars, according to 247 Sports. However, the Cougars are not alone in their struggle to maintain players in the American Athletic Conference. Tulane had 13 de-commits in total, UCF had 10 and Temple had nine. With four slots left in the 2017 recruiting class, the Cougars have an opportunity to jump a couple of rankings. sports@thedailycougar.com

SWIMMING

Teamwork motivates rookie swimmer to perform LEONARD D. GIBSON III

really well with Hannah. She’s a good people person. Ryan told me that he was here to stay and said he would do anything that I needed to help me out whatever way he can.

SPORTS EDITOR

@LEONARDDGIBSON

Freshman Laura Laderoute has had an impressive start to her collegiate swimming career. In her first meet at the North Texas Relays, she set a school record in the 100 individual medley and ended with three podium finishes. Going into the American Athletic Conference Championships, Laderoute has three individual wins. Her success didn't begin in Houston, but back in her home state of Oregon where she swam top-10 in the nation in the 200-medley relay and was the individual state champion in the 200 individual medley in 2014. The Cougar caught up with Laderoute to discuss her exciting rookie season. The Cougar: What brought you down to Houston from Oregon? Laura Laderoute: I was recruited, and I just got along with this team the most out of the other teams that I visited. I also really thought

TC: You were very successful in high school. Was there any pressure for you to perform at UH?

"I’ve put in the work, so I just need to trust that I’ll be successful because of it," said Laura Laderoute.

| Courtesy of UH Athletics

Coach Hannah (Burandt) and Ryan (Wochomurka) would help me reach my individual goals. TC: What was it about your coaches that made you believe they’d help you reach those goals? LL: Ryan’s background; I knew he was a good coach. I got along

LL: No. I knew in my mind that this was a good place for me. I knew I’d be successful here. I didn’t expect to be successful right away, but I knew it was going to happen. TC: You started off your first collegiate school meet at the North Texas Relays with a school record in the 100 IM and three podium finishes. Were you expecting to have such a strong showing right out the gate? LL: No, I was not. Especially because they were training us so hard. I was not used to the weight lifting, and all the running we were doing. It was just so different

from what I was doing on club (swim team), and I was tired all the time. I felt beaten down, but it obviously made me stronger. TC: What’s something the coaches have helped you with to propel you forward and make sure you’re continuing to improve? LL: It’s just the training aspect of it all, just how it’s so different. It’s a lot more work. Also, the team really helped me out how they’re all working for each other. I was on a small club team, so there weren’t a lot of people. TC: What’s been your motivation going into each meet? LL: I’ve put in the work, so I just need to trust that I’ll be successful because of it, and also going into conference and thinking about the whole team. I don’t want to let them down. TC: What are your expectations going into the AAC Championships?\

LL: I just want to end the beat knowing that it was the best I could do. I have a lot of individual goals that I’m looking to get here, but if I don’t I’m okay with just moving on and doing it next year. I just hope as a team we perform well. TC: What moment this season stands out the most for you? LL: I have two. First one is the retreat we had at the beginning of the year. Just because it was all so new, and it just made me more confident that I had chosen the right place. It was a night we got to know everybody really well. I fell in love with the team aspect everyone had. And Phil Hansel, it was the meet we rested for, and everyone did well, and the team environment was so awesome. Everyone was hyped up for everyone. Someone did well, everyone else is excited for them. It’s just a good team. sports@thedailycougar.com


10 | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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SUPER BOWL

Historic comeback caps off festive Super Week Falcons threw it away Apparently the Patriots are really lucky at getting teams in the Super Bowl that don’t want to win. Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball? Why didn’t the Falcons just LEONARD D. GIBSON III kick the field SPORTS EDITOR goal? The score was 28-20 with 4:11 on the clock. Falcons had the first down at the 22-yard line, well within field goal territory. They could’ve run the ball three times, draining the clock or forcing the Patriots to waste their timeouts and then kicked the field goal to give themselves an 11-point lead. The game would’ve been theirs. Instead, on second down, the Falcons called for a passing play that resulted in Ryan being sacked, making it third-and-23. Then on third down on yet another passing play, the Falcons were called for holding and put themselves firmly out of field goal range. This was only the final nail the Falcons hammered into their own coffin, however. Blowing a 28-3 lead is almost as bad of a choke as the Golden State Warriors. The high-power Falcons offense we saw in the second quarter fizzled out in the second half. The most interesting statistic is comparing Tom Brady’s 62 passing attempts to Matt Ryan’s 23. Julio Jones, who many believed to be a major component to the Falcons’ offense, had only four receptions for 87 yards. The Patriots had six players with four or more receptions. The biggest takeaway from the game for me was the reaffirmation that college overtime rules are far superior to the NFL’s. We saw the first overtime in Super Bowl history, and we didn’t even get to see the NFL MVP, Matt Ryan, touch the field. Both teams should get one drive in overtime and if they’re still tied, move on to the second overtime. If you want a prime example of this model in action, watch the Michigan-Ohio State game this year. It’s fair. It may take a bit longer, but both teams will get the chance to play both offense and defense. Perhaps Roger Goodell will listen to all those boos and worry

about the fairness of the sport instead of deflated balls going into the next season.

Touchdown Tom In what many are calling the greatest comeback in professional football history, the New England Patriots proved once again to never count out Touchdown J. D. Tom. SMITH After tying ASSISTANT the largest SPORTS EDITOR comeback in a Super Bowl two years ago, the Patriots obliterated the record, overcoming a 25-point deficit en route to a 34-28 overtime victory for the franchise’s fifth title at NRG Stadium Sunday night. After sputtering for the first three quarters, including throwing a devastating pick-six, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady proved why many believe he is the greatest to ever play the game. He led the offense to 31 points on five straight drives while going 43-62 with a Super Bowl record 466 yards and 2 touchdowns, capped by one of the most unlikely catches of all-time by receiver Julian Edelman. With 2:28 left in the game, Brady stepped back to throw, aiming for Edelman streaking across the center of the field. Falcons corner Robert Alford broke in front of Edelman, getting his hands on the ball and tipping it up. Not missing a beat, Edelman, Alford, safety Keanu Neal and safety Ricardo Allen all dove for the ball as it was falling. Among four bodies and six hands, Edelman somehow managed to come up with the ball, trapping it in his hands mere inches off the turf. While many are pointing to what the Patriots did to force the Atlanta Falcons into mistakes, the Falcons have no one to blame this loss on anyone other than themselves. After a Stephen Gostkowski field goal brought the Patriots within two touchdowns, the Falcons faced a third-and-1 from their own 36-yard line. Instead of running, like they had been successful with earlier in the night, offensive coordi-

There was nothing but praise for both the city and unviersity following the success of Super Week. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

nator Kyle Shanahan went with a pass, resulting in a strip-sack by linebacker Dont’a Hightower, giving the Patriots the ball and the momentum in great field position. New England capped the drive with a Danny Amendola touchdown to make it a one-possession game and pinned the Falcons deep in their own territory on the ensuing kickoff. Not giving up themselves, the Falcons drove down the field to the NE 22 after an inhuman Julio Jones catch. But miscues on two straight plays by both coaches and players led to a Falcons punt and giving the Patriots an attempt to tie. After a run for a loss of one yard, Shanahan called yet another pass and Ryan was sacked by Trey Flowers, pushing them back to the 35. On the next play, a holding penalty wiped out a first-down catch and knocked them back to the 45, out of field goal range. The Falcons could’ve elected to kneel the ball three straight times and kicked a field goal to go up 11 with roughly 3:00 to play and force the Patriots to use all their timeouts, but for some reason, Shanahan still called passes. As a result of their quick scores and short drives in the first half, the Falcons offense wasn’t on the field very much, resulting in the Patriots running 93 plays to the Falcons 46.

Atlanta’s young defense was on the field for over 40 minutes and didn’t have the depth or conditioning to stop the Patriots when it counted most. The comeback seals Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, becoming the only one to lead his team to five Super Bowl victories.

Experience overcomes On a night where he threw for over 400 yards, Tom Brady earned his distinction as the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history. After being down 28-3 to PETER SCAMARDO the Atlanta SENIOR STAFF Falcons in the third quarter, Brady orchestrated the largest comeback in Super Bowl history to tie the game and force overtime. Apart from the James White’s two touchdowns, including the game winner, the New England run game was near non-existent. With everything coming through Brady, it was no surprise when he was named the MVP of the game. This game was defined by two major momentum swings for both teams, both of which were fumbles.

The LaGarette Blount fumble came when the two teams were testing each other and it gave the Falcons the motivation to pounce on an opportunity. The Falcons did this by going up 21-0 in the second quarter, capped by Robert Alford’s pick six. But with the Falcons attempting to ice the game, it was Matt Ryan’s sack fumble which got the Patriots into it. The future Hall of Famer in Brady knew how to capitalize on the turnover as that score led to another and another until the Patriots defied all odds to tie the game. I saw this game with many similarities to the national championship game this past January, but the game played out opposite of predicted. It was the Patriots who played the role of the Clemson Tigers. Arguably Matt Ryan and the Falcons scored too quickly as Brady and company had too much time to bite away at the lead. By the fourth quarter, the Falcons were too tired to get the stops they needed, and as the game went into overtime, the young defense of the Falcons had nothing left to give. The game was won by Matthew Slater’s calling heads on the coin toss. sports@thedailycougar.com


Wednesday, February 8, 2017 | 11

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Leonard D. Gibson III, EDITOR

SOFTBALL

Head coach looks to past for guidance in first year J. D. SMITH

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @JDSMITH_08

Taking over a collegiate program can be a daunting task for a firsttime head coach. The ability to look back at personal experiences and past coaches is key to ensuring that the transition is smooth and successful. For the first time since the program’s inception, the Cougar softball team has gone through a head coaching change, naming former Oklahoma star Kristin Vesely to the helm. As a first-time head coach, Vesely often looks back on her time as a successful collegiate player to help her wade through unknown terrain. “Most days I think it helps because I know what it takes to be successful,” Vesely said. “I think that when you’re successful at something, you get to learn and work on the things that most people in college are still trying

homa and knowing what type of fierce competitor she is, I know she is the right fit for the University of Houston,” Gasso said of Vesely’s hiring. “She is gritty, an extremely hard worker and she knows the game. Her passion for the sport and her intensity will show through recruiting and preparation."

Realizing her potential It would take some time before she realized coaching was what she wanted to do, though. After being selected in the first round of the National Pro Fastpitch draft in 2006, Vesely played professionally for one season before working as a mortgage loan officer. Although she had worked as a coach for a club team for four years, it wasn’t until she was given the opportunity to coach a high school team that she realized this is what she wanted to do. “When I first started coaching

“I have high expectations of myself and one of my jobs is to find a way to win, whether we're playing well that day or not." Kristin Vesely, head coach to do, so you get to experiment and implement some things that others won’t.”

Learning from the best While a player at Oklahoma University, Vesely learned under longtime Sooners head coach Patty Gasso. In 22 seasons at OU, Gasso has led the Sooners to three national championships and won over 77 percent of games played. Gasso instilled a culture of professionalism and winning — a philosophy Vesely hopes to bring her Houston. “Everything she has done in that program has been successful,” Vesely said. “Everything is about being a professional. Since day one when you walk in, she has it laid out. This is the way we do it and this is the way we win.” As a player at Oklahoma, Vesely was wildly successful. She was named an All-American twice, while being All-Big 12 each of her four seasons. When she left, she was in the top 10 of 11 different offensive career record lists, including being the all-time leader in this with 293. “Having coached her at Okla-

little kids, it hindered me because softball came to me so naturally. I really had to learn how to break something down and teach it,” Vesely said. “I got the opportunity to coach a high school and realized this is what I want to do.” Vesely joined the Cougars in 2011 as an assistant coach under former head coach Kyla Holas. In 2014, she was promoted to associate head coach, helping lead the Cougars to some of their highest offensive output in program history. After Holas announced her resignation last May, Vesely was the top option to replace her, being named the second head coach in program history on June 10. “I was in the car and I was talking to (Vice President of Athletics) Hunter (Yurachek), and I did a fist pump and said 'Yes!' before he even went over any part of the job,” Vesely said. Now at the helm of the young program, Vesely got her first look at the team in the annual red and white series played last weekend. The red team won the first two games, giving the coaches a good preview of what to expect heading

into the first series of the season. “It’s more of an excitement and anticipation of the unknown,” Vesely said. “We got to see a little bit of some of the things that happened last week. It’s an excitement like Christmas morning.” Knowing what to do and having it translate to the field are two different things, though. Vesely’s six years as an assistant will help when it comes to transitioning to head coach. Her experience has led her to have high expectations, not only of the team, but of herself heading into 2017. “I have high expectations of myself, and one of my jobs is to find a way to win, whether we’re playing well that day or not,” Vesely said. “(With) any mistakes we make, we want to err on the side of aggressive, and as long as they’re doing that, win or lose, there’s not a day I’d be disappointed.” sports@thedailycougar.com

The all-time hits leader at Oklahoma, head coach Kristin Vesely looks to leave her mark at UH in her first season at the program's helm. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

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Leonard D. Gibson III, EDITOR

BASEBALL

Cougars open season against former players J. D. SMITH

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @JDSMITH_08

With the opening series of the season fast approaching, Cougar baseball looks to get into the grove this weekend against former players. The fan appreciation day and alumni game are scheduled to take place at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park this Saturday with gates opening at 10 a.m. The team enters the season ranked No. 20 by Perfect Game after being predicted to finish second in the American Athletic Conference by the coaches. Featuring a pitching staff that finished second in the nation in ERA, the Cougars look to return to the postseason after missing it in 2016. Junior lefthander Seth Romero is the ace of the staff, leading the team in ERA in each of his first two seasons. Named by Baseball America as the No. 10 college prospect,

Junior Connor Wong will be a key part of the offense if the Cougars hope to return to the playoffs. | File Photo/The Cougar

Romero will use this season to not only achieve team success but set himself up to be a high draft pick in June. “Any team that has aspirations of playing in Omaha needs to have an ace in their staff and Seth is definitely capable of being that guy,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “After an average year last year, him recognizing and doing

things to get himself better, I’m really proud of him.” Offensively, the Cougars are led by standout sophomore Joe Davis. After setting numerous freshman records last season, the designated hitter was named the Preseason Player of the Year in the AAC. Along with Davis, the offense features Baseball America’s No. 88 college prospect in catcher Connor

Wong. The Pearland native led the Cougars in 2016 in runs scored and walks, while being second in hits. After being held out of the playoffs last season, making it in is not only the goal but the expectation for many of the Cougars. “We were one game away from getting in last year,” Davis said. “With the guys we have this year, hitting-wise and pitching wise, and

if we live up to our capabilities, we’ll definitely make it into the postseason.” Before any of this can start, though, the Cougars have to get through the alumni game and ready for the games that count. Although lots of fun, Saturday’s game represents a chance to get into the grove before the regular season while avoiding injuries will be key. With an offense that can easily score runs and a pitching staff that doesn’t give many up, the Cougars have all the tools needed to make a deep run to Omaha and the College World Series. Davis agrees that the sky’s the limit for the Cougars in 2017. “With an offense that can easily score runs and a pitching staff that doesn’t give many up, the Cougars have all the tools needed to make a deep run to Omaha and the College World Series.” sports@thedailycougar.com

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