Jolly Facts About Every NCAA Tourney University: Today, East Region
Good morning, campers! As you know, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins on Thursday, and you know every detail about every player and team. But what about the universities themselves? Where is Troy University? Why did Dr. Seuss hate the University of Virginia? It's all revealed below.
Today, the Eastern Regional.
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) June 7, 2016
There are four haunted buildings on campus. Villanova served as an army hospital during the Civil War, and there are rumors closed-off rooms and abandoned morgues in many of them, and even an ancient labyrinth of tunnels beneath the campus itself. The most ghostly sightings come from the Dundale Mansion, on the West Campus. The 35-room mansion was built in 1890 for the Morris family, who are all said to still be in residence, haunting the place by turning lights on and off, slamming doors and making weird sounds in the night.
Mount St. Mary's
If known for nothing else, mark down that the university discovered Babe Ruth. Ruth was playing for the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys of Baltimore when that school visited Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg for an away baseball game. Joe Engel, a player for Mt. St. Mary's, was so impressed with Ruth's pitching ability that he told his friend, Jack Dunn, manager of the minor league Baltimore Orioles about him. The Orioles scouted Ruth and immediately signed him, then sold him to the Red Sox.
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In every era there is a Monica Lewinski. Since 1909 the tradition at UW-Madison is for outgoing seniors to sit in Abe Lincoln's lap (the statue on Beacon Hill). But sometimes getting up there makes for awkward photos ...
Va. Tech is still getting away with its illegal tying scam. All freshmen are required to live on campus. But in order to do that, they must sign an "exclusive dining contract", which requires them to sign up for a major meal plan sold by the university. The cheapest of these is $1,674 per semester. Yes, there are "flex" variations and discounts and other gimmicks to make this more palatable, but it still amounts to the school forcing you to buy their food.
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Theodor Seuss Geisel -- yes, that Dr. Seuss -- was turned down for admittance to the University of Virginia three times. (He eventually went to Dartmouth, and then Oxford in England). After making it big in children's literature, he bought a house on a hill overlooking the UVA campus, so that he could literally look down on the school that rejected him. But that wasn't all. He named Whoville, from How The Grinch That Stole Christmas, after the university, whose unofficial nickname is Wahoos ("Hoos" = "Whos").
The university's mascot, Sammy Seahawk, was arrested in 2004 for possession of marijuana and Valium with intent to sell and deliver. But that's not all. He was also charged with "maintaining a dwelling for the manufacturing of marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia." Thomas Moorefield, the student involved, was one of two people to play the Seahawk that year.
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Perhaps the Gators should dedicate this first-round game to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (University of Florida, 1987), who is reportedly up to her bosoms in shady dealings during the Trump University scandal. As you may recall, Bondi reportedly "solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump” in 2013, at the same time she was deciding whether to investigate alleged fraud at Trump University. The Trump family foundation donated $25,000 to Bondi's campaign four days later, and Bondi then announced that her office would not join a lawsuit against Trump University. She later endorsed Trump for president, calling him "a good friend." Numerous ethics complaints have been filed against Bondi, and all three major Florida newspapers have called for an investigation over her actions.
Despite being 278 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, ETSU has been obsessed with seagoing mascots since 1935. That's when they became the Buccaneers, and adopted a goat mascot named Captain Kidd. Then it was Bucky the Pirate in the 1960s, followed by Pepper the Parrot in 1980. Bucky returned in 1991.
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John Owen Beaty, who taught English at Southern Methodist from 1919 to 1957, generated his own Red Scare at the university and helped fuel McCarthyism in the 1950s. In his 1951 book The Iron Curtain over America and a pamphlet How to Capture a University, Beaty charged that the spread of communism could be characterized as a Jewish conspiracy, and that world communism was rapidly gaining ground everywhere, with little or no response from the Truman administration. The university eventually censored him.
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Baylor University has a licensed zoo on campus in order to keep their two mascots: North American black bears named Joy and Lady. The Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat trains the bears' handlers as well as providing visitors an opportunity to visit the bears.
New Mexico State
In an attempt to rebrand their mascot for national consumption in 2005, New Mexico State disarmed Pistol Pete, removing his six-shooter and replacing them with a lasso. But the uproar from the student body was so great that one year later, the guns were restored Pistol Pete became the school's official mascot.
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Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea (officially the Savannah Campaign) in 1864 passed through Columbia, SC, home of South Carolina College (later to be named the University of South Carolina). It was Sherman's intention to burn the school to the ground, but seeing that the main building had been transformed into an army hospital, he spared it.
The university was founded in 1881 to provide an affordable Catholic education for the emerging German population of Milwaukee and the surrounding area. How affordable? In the school' extensive library journals collection are records of tuition in the early days being paid by bartering, including this note: One student paid his tuition with beer.
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The Duke Lemur Center is a real thing, and is in the fact the world’s largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates (caring for 15 species of lemurs, bushbabies and of course lorises). It takes up 85 acres in Duke Forest. Wikipedia: In 1966, a prosimian colony of approximately 90 individuals, belonging to John Buettner-Janusch, was relocated from the Center for Prosimian Biology at Yale University to Duke University, creating the Duke Lemur Center. Yes, this means that Duke was the lemurs’ safety school.
Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum is world famous -- it's a monument and tribute to the woman who began the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Recently the museum presented “A Conversation with Mrs. Lucille Times,” and her story is less known. On June 15, 1955, six months before the arrest of Rosa Parks, Mrs. Times had a confrontation with a white bus driver who tried to run her car off the road. Following the incident, Mrs. Times started boycotting the city buses by driving by bus stops to pick up waiting black passengers. When the official boycott began on Dec. 5, 1955, Times and her husband, Charlie, continued providing rides to individuals in need.
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