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Joe keeps the cash

By mrasor Published: June 30, 2008

Judge Bill Spicer refused this afternoon to set aside the $3.1 million verdict or order a new eminent domain trial on land owned by Joe Nemer.
The university probably will appeal, and that will likely result in a settlement. That's how these things usually work.

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Zips extend Porter's contract through 2011

By mrasor Published: June 27, 2008

Men's soccer
Caleb Porter has spent two years continuing to build Akron's soccer program.
The university rewarded him this week with a two-year contract extension that will last until 2011.
During Porter's tenure, Akron has the best winning percentage in the nation. The Zips finished No. 10 in RPI last season. Moreover, the recruiting has been phenomenal.
Mack Rhoades should not have extended Porter's contract. Rather, Rhoades should have found a sturdy pair of shackles to keep Porter tied to Lee Jackson Field.
Women's basketball
Jodi Kest reeled in the nation's 59th best recruiting class, an expert says.
This comes in the aftermath of a large portion of the team being kicked off the roster.
To be honest (and I want to stay as far from Don Imus territory as possible), the women's basketball players who I saw around campus were, categorically, the rowdiest team on campus. Aside from Sarah Tokodi, who seemed nice, Kest probably achieved addition by subtraction.

To read more or comment... launches Akron site

By mrasor Published: June 25, 2008

Football launched in hopes to increase membership and provide a steady base of Akron news.
I will be a contributing writer every so often, but Bob Lichtenfels is doing most of the work to get the site off the ground.
Please consider visiting the site, take the seven-day trial, and perhaps become a member for about $100 a year. There is a lot of good information, and it's nice to have Scout recognize the growth of the Zips' fan base.
One interesting story is about top junior college cornerback Chaz Russell, who is considering Akron.

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University might back off buying Joe's, lawyer says

By mrasor Published: June 22, 2008

If Akron loses its appeal of the $3.1 million verdict to Joe Nemer, it might back off purchasing the land, according to Nemer's attorney Warner Mendenhall.
Probate court judge Bill Spicer will rule on UA's motion to set aside the verdict early this week. Mendenhall said the university's attorney told him it would not be interested in buying the land through eminent domain at that cost.
Would the university really set aside a huge plan for a residence hall over a measley million bucks? Probably not. It looks like posturing, because Nemer obviously can't get $3.1 million for his land on the market. Even if the university is serious, it might not be able to back out.

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No deal yet with Nike

By mrasor Published: June 20, 2008

Men's basketball
Despite the recent reports, the University of Akron does not have a contract with Nike.
After I made a records request for the contract, a university official told me that the sides are still discussing the matter and do not have an executed agreement.

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Zips ink deal with Nike, LeBron

By mrasor Published: June 18, 2008

Men's basketball
The Zips will play under the banner of Nike and hometown hero LeBron James for the next three years.
Despite its contract with adidas, Akron signed a contract to have the James' "LJ23" brand as its apparel provider.
Assuming that Nike re-designs the team's look, Akron will be playing its third consecutive season with new uniforms. The partnership with the NBA's finest young star should add some credibility to the team nationally. It should also impress top recruits, who have been more willing to play for Akron in the past few years.
I am curious about how this contract is structured. I made a public records request, and hopefully I will be able to upload a PDF of it soon.
Akron recently received its first verbal commitment.
Dee Frieson is a wide receiver from Orange Park, Fla. Although the recruiting sites lack information on him, a news report calls him a speedy slot receiver, who committed to Akron so he could play a similar role in a Division I offense.

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Five Zips on Web site's preseason all-MAC team

By mrasor Published: June 16, 2008

Almondo Sewell (defensive line), Bryan Williams (kickoff returner) and Andre Jones (punt returner) are the best players at their position in the MAC, according to
The Web site also predicted Chris Kemme (offensive line) and Ryan Bain (defensive line) to be second-team performers.
Akron is second in the conference with five players on both lists. Ball State leads with seven.
Sewell is one of only five sophomores to be honored.

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Important eminent domain proceedings tomorrow

By mrasor Published: June 15, 2008

The eminent domain disputes should be sorted out by the end of this week.
Judge Bill Spicer will decide whether to set aside the $3 million award to Joe Nemer. Manny Nemer's trial also will begin.
The Beacon Journal had a good story in today's paper that sums it up.

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Large and Kelley earn All-American honors

By mrasor Published: June 14, 2008

Stevi Large and Cadeau Kelley each performed well enough to merit All-American status.
Large took eighth in the hammer throw at the NCAA Championships. It was her second All-American award.
Kelley placed seventh in the long jump. He entered the competition with the third-longest jump in the nation all season.

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UA will appeal $3 million verdict

By mrasor Published: June 11, 2008

The university (wisely) will appeal the $3 million verdict that a jury awarded Joe Nemer last week.

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High expectations for Bryan Williams

By mrasor Published: June 9, 2008

Bryan Williams is a second-team preseason All-American at kick returner, according to Consensus Draft Services.
Only three non-BCS players earned a similar honor.

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Rydell Brooks kicked out of school

By mrasor Published: June 8, 2008

Men's basketball
The university kicked Rydell Brooks off campus, following the walk-on's serious skirmish with police officers last month.
Brooks' attorney said the former Niagara guard could be reinstated to school if acquitted in court. Regardless, it's safe to say Keith Dambrot and Co. won't be asking him to return to the basketball court.
Brooks is in Summit County Jail, awaiting a trial on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon.
Another week, another softball update.
This time, my team played against a team that included Kent State quarterback Julian Edelman.
Appropriately, Edelman played left field, where he could take advantage of his laser arm. On a couple occasions, he crashed into the wall, showing off his other top attribute: toughness.
Edelman is one of 10 Kent State players on Phil Steele's preseason All-MAC team.
Our team swept Edelman's, in case you were wondering.

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Two Zips taken in MLB Draft

By mrasor Published: June 6, 2008

Two MLB teams selected Akron players in this week's Amateur Draft.
The Minnesota Twins drafted pitcher Tom Farmer for the second-straight June. Farmer made his name in the Cape Cod league two summers ago. The Twins drafted him in the 20th round, but Farmer returned to school. This time, Minnesota selected him in the 47th round.
Two rounds later, the New York Mets drafted Doug McNulty, an outfielder/first baseman with whom I have shared several interesting conversations at local establishments. McNulty hit .321 and belted 12 home runs this season.
Four Zips will compete for an NCAA Championship next weekend.
Stevi Large might be the Zips' best shot at a national champion. She took first at regionals in the hammer throw last weekend.
Auston Papay is appearing at the NCAA Championships for the third time. The discus thrower placed 15th last spring.
Cadeau Kelley is making his second appearance at nationals. The MAC's long jump champion placed fifth at regionals.
High jumper Ryan Jones earned one of 10 at-large berths to nationals. It will be the senior's first and only chance at the meet.
The NCAA Championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa from June 11-14.

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Zips add walk-on from Florida

By mrasor Published: June 5, 2008

Men's basketball
Akron will add a 6-foot-4 walk-on guard from Florida.
Kyle Peterson averaged 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game at Community School in Naples, Fla.
After the fiascos with Rydell Brooks and Andrew Moss, Zips fans will be refreshed to hear Peterson has a 3.8 GPA and his high school retired his jersey, which tends to indicate high character.
Keith Dambrot praised Peterson's high basketball IQ. Akron's Honors College has already accepted Peterson. (Good luck with your final Honors project, buddy.)
His stats are not very impressive. However, Peterson should help the team practice and maybe earn some defensive minutes as an upperclassman.
The ABJ's Bob Dyer eloquently responded to an ignorant question from a UA professor: Why do high school sports exist?
You'd assume such a question would come from that annals of Kent State University, but no.

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Joe Nemer gets $2.7 million

By mrasor Published: June 4, 2008

A jury awarded Joe and Mona Nemer $2.7 million for their property on Exchange Street.
That means almost 5 percent of the stadium cost will go toward buying one parcel of land.
I am absolutely shocked, but one can guess that sympathy played a part. The Nemers are immigrants who started their own business. The university has millions upon millions of dollars. Also, the Nemers' attorney Warner Mendenhall is a whiz at going after the government.
The next step is for the university to appeal this ruling. Since the only issue on appeal will be the amount of compensation, it should not delay the demolition process.
An appeal, however, has a low chance of success because the jury's monetary assessment is a question of fact, which can only be reversed for clear error. If there is any evidence that supports the $2.7 million figure, the Nemers will keep that fat check.

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Shaka Smart becomes a Gator

By mrasor Published: June 2, 2008

Men's basketball
Former Akron assistant coach Shaka Smart is headed to Gainesville to work under Billy Donovan at Florida.
Basketball people say Smart will be a big-time coaching prospect. He left Akron two seasons ago to be an assistant at Clemson. He knows a lot about basketball. Good luck to him.
According to someone present at the trial, Joe Nemer is asking the jury to award him $3 million for his property.
The university has offered $1.038 million, which is reportedly above fair-market value.
I guess $3 million is the point where it stops being about principles.

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