Every season, the NCAA basketball tournament has a cinderella team. Who was it last year? George Mason? I forget. But this year's cinderella team has already grabbed her glass slipper.
The Drake Bulldogs won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament over the second seeded team by 30 pts.
If you are not familiar with Drake, and who is but those of us from Iowa? Drake is located in Des Moines. The enrollment is about 5600.
Now you may be saying to yourself, "Ah, obviously the Bulldogs have gone the way of UNLV in the past. Bringing in a bunch of athletes who rarely attend class unless it is Basketball Theory 101."Not the case at all. When you haven't been in the top 25 for three decades, people start to ask questions, some out of nothing more than mere spite. Has Drake lightened its academic standards? Have the Bulldogs done away with the 2.0 rule? Are they selling their souls for a sliver of glory?
Jean Berger invites the skeptics to sniff around all they like. Berger, Drake's associate director of athletics and senior women's administrator, says the men's basketball team GPA is "much higher now" than it was a decade ago, when the 2.0 rule was enacted as a response to the academic failings of men's basketball players under coach Rudy Washington.
"I think Dr. Tom's staff and Keno's staff and, in particular, (assistant) Justin Ohl, they've done a great job presenting to our young men that ... it's important, you need to pay attention to it," Berger says. "You have a choice: You can bang your head against the wall and complain about it, or we can make this work. And they really did make it work."
Proof in point, the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year. Adam Emmenecker.
Emmenecker (pronounced M an ecker) is a walk on. That's impressive. But even more so, he is a quadruple major with a 3.97 GPA!!!! In case you were wondering, it's Business, Finance, Management, and Entreprenurial Management.
And by the way, if you've got a spare glass slipper laying around? I got a pretty good idea who it fits.