Headline — 05 April 2013 — by Adele Ramos
Galen prez fires half the basketball team

Dr. Zabaneh said they “failed to show up on time” for important meeting

Half of Galen University’s basketball team, Galen Eagles, including the MVP of the 2013 ATLIB tournament, have been sacked by Galen president Dr. Louis Zabaneh after they allegedly failed to show up on time for an important meeting at which their contracts with the university, which were to cover the terms of their basketball scholarship, were to be finalized.

MVP Jarrell Velasquez declined comment when Amandala contacted him today. He said he was only five minutes late for the meeting.

That meeting was scheduled for 11:00 this morning, and they were to attend well-dressed and accompanied by their parents. According to Zabaneh, only three team members were there when it was time for the meeting to start. One person, he said, sent a text message indicating his excuse, while another sent an e-mail.

Via e-mail, Galen informed Amandala that the members of the Galen University Eagles basketball team are Dijon McNab, Jarrell Velasquez, Shelton Defour, Jason Badillo, Carlo Burns, Elvis J. Usher, Raul Roches, Jordan Young-Lamb, Nigel Galvez, Vinnie Garbutt and Emani Enriquez.

Defour, Burns and Usher, the early ones, were all accompanied by a parent/guardian at the meeting, the university informed us. McNab was excused due to prior obligations, we were also told.

At first, there were reports that the players had lost their scholarships as well as their places on the team; however, Dr. Zabaneh told us that they will be allowed to retain their scholarship, which covers $13,500 in tuition each year plus books.

“All the other students [who didn’t attend the meeting early] have now transitioned from our athletic scholarship program to our academic scholarship program, that will enable them the opportunity to continue in their pursuit of an education,” the e-mail from Galen said.

Now, Zabaneh said, new players will have to be found to fill the slots on the team, because there are team events this summer and the Eagles are due to travel to the US for games this fall.

The president told us that Galen has 330 students, 103 of whom are on scholarship or some form of financial aid. More than 40 are on full scholarships, he added, emphasizing the need for them to fulfill their contractual obligations to the institution.

The semester ends April and new basketball contracts for a one-year term were to be in place as of today. The deal is that basketball players must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5.

This is where they will get snagged, according to one of the players who were sacked today. He told us that since their scholarships will now become regular academic scholarships, they will be required to have a higher GPA of 3.5 to retain it; and so, they will end up getting dropped from the scholarship scheme. He has already accepted that he will have to finance his way through school, he told us.

The basketball player said that he was in fact 5 minutes early for the meeting, but was denied entry by the receptionist, who conveyed a message from Dr. Zabaneh that all latecomers should go back home.

The student-athlete told us that he had arrived with both his parents, who had to travel many miles to go to the meeting, and several other players were already in the building when they were likewise barred entry into the meeting.

Zabaneh said that he had repeatedly warned the team members about their lateness, but the problem persisted.

“They have to learn a lesson,” said Zabaneh. “It’s a tough lesson.”

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