CARBONDALE — The president of one of the most famous fake universities in the country wants it to be known for more than the Final Four tickets it swindled from the NCAA.
Art Duffy, a 1982 graduate of Southern Illinois University and the president of Maguire University, was the top bidder for the Salukis Black Out Cancer game against No. 20 Northern Iowa. With his bid of $1,917, he was able to put "MaguireU" on the back of quarterback Sam Straub's jersey when SIU takes on the Panthers at 6 p.m. Saturday night. Even though he put up the money for the jersey, as he has ever since the event began in 2011, Duffy, 57, wanted to celebrate his group's "alumni."
"We decided to make it a little more philanthropic, and as I've started to do some things with my own money, some others have started to do some good things with their own money," Duffy said.
Maguire University was born in 1963 by a couple of drinking buddies at Maguire's Pub in Forest Park.
Len Tyrrell, then a football coach at nearby Fenwick High School, suggested the group fill out an application to join the NCAA, which every college did not belong to back then, in order to receive the Final Four tickets the association distributed to its members. Maguire University had an enrollment of 1,600, school colors of green and white, and was known as the Jollymen. The NCAA bought it, and allotted them 100 tickets to the Final Four in 1973 and a block of hotel rooms. The school was included in the association's blue book, its annual directory, and Maguire's Pub received several phone calls inquiring about scheduling a football or basketball game.
The school got away with it again in 1974, until a story in the Chicago Tribune exposed the hoax. Now a group of more than 1,000 head to the NCAA Final Four every year, with or without tickets, to socialize and keep the tradition alive. To join, fans simply have to pony up the money to go to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Final Four next year, which is between $925 per person for a double bed for four nights and $1,600 per person for a single bedroom at the group's designated hotel for five nights. The money gets each participant a shot at tickets through a lottery, but many people go simply for the party.
This year's "freshman" class will be a part of the 55th group to attend the Final Four. After four trips, you, too, can graduate from Maguire University, and receive the same diploma North Carolina's Roy Williams received earlier this year. Many of the past presidents of the New York Athletic Club are also members of Maguire, and invite them to attend the annual Winged Foot Award, which goes to the coach of the winning team of the men's and women's NCAA tournament.
"The Maguire thing is 55 years old, and you've got to keep it alive as best you can, so that's what I do," Duffy said.
Duffy will not be at Saturday's game — he expects to be back in Florida cleaning up his house that was damaged by Hurricane Irma — but hopes to return to campus for Homecoming the weekend of Oct. 14. A member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, he worked as a night manager at the old Holiday Inn while attending SIU and finished with a degree in finance and accounting. Today he owns his own business, ADCo Technology Solutions, which buys, sells and leases technological equipment in Chicago and South Florida.
"I've never heard Art Duffy say a bad word about anyone. I've never heard him say a curse word," said Chet Savage, a former assistant athletic director at SIU, who is a member of Maguire University. "A lot of his life is the social aspect, grabbing a beer after work and just hanging out. He's just somebody that I believe is a great guy to hang out with. It is not about Art. Anything he does, it's about his friends, it's about his family, and about the things he cares about."
Duffy's father, Arthur Duffy Sr., died two years ago of lung cancer. An acquaintance has survived brain cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer, he said, and several members of Maguire have passed away because of the disease.
"A lot of our members, we're now on generation three or four that's gone through with this, so, a lot of our old members have died of cancer," Duffy said. "So, cancer, when it comes to the American Cancer Society, or stopping cancer in any way, it's kind of a big thing with us."
Folks from Maguire University have supported members competing in charitable marathons and triathlons, as well as causes like Operation Support Our Troops. A team of competitive barbecuers, called the Maguire University Culinary Institute, recently returned from a trip to Texas to cook for the homeless and recovery volunteers.
Bids for the special Under Armour jerseys the Salukis will wear Saturday night raised $28,036 for the SIH Cancer Institute in Carterville. The event has raised nearly $350,000 to fight cancer in Southern Illinois. More than $227,000 of it has gone to the cancer institute.
CHICAGO — Illinois education officials say the elimination of some requirements for teacher licenses has streamlined the licensing process and hasn't sacrificed the state's high standards.
The Chicago Tribune reports the changes to the licensing laws began in 2011. Some allow aspiring teachers to bypass certain coursework and exams.
Some administrators said those changes have helped fill jobs in areas with teacher shortages. But advocates for tough licensing standards said eliminating coursework and testing requirements may not guarantee educators have the credentials needed to work in public schools.
"What's interesting is that when there is a shortage in, say, nursing, no one thinks of taking away a requirement," said Phillip Rogers, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. "For some reason it is always fair game to make adjustments in the licensing and certification of teachers."
The Illinois State Board of Education reports there were more than 1,000 open positions statewide for the 2017-2018 academic year, though that's less than 1 percent of total teaching positions. In some past years, data has shown more than 2,000 unfilled positions.
"There have definitely been a number of changes in the last few years," said Nicole Wills, a lobbyist for the Illinois Education Association. "Sometimes I think we just need to have a moratorium so that we can actually see what we've been implementing and what we're doing well."
CARBONDALE — A round of journal cancellations is the latest in a series of cuts made to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library.
Last spring, the university cut $400,000 from the library’s budget, forcing Morris to reduce hours and expenses. The library recently announced it would be closed on Saturdays.
“We’ve lost four staff members, we’ve cut back on our other expenses, and the materials took the biggest cut,” said dean of library affairs John Pollitz, adding that savings generated by the journal cancellations totaled $220,000.
One hundred forty-two titles were selected for cancellation based on low use or high cost, modified by factors such as citations from and articles by SIUC authors and JCR journal ranking.
Access to new journal content will still be available through the library’s interlibrary loan service, but the cancellations will pose a hassle to researchers, said electronic resources librarian Andrea Imre.
“It’s not going to be as convenient for our researchers, because they cannot just Google the content and get to the article that they need immediately, which is the case when we have a subscription. They will have to submit an interlibrary loan request, and it might take a few hours or up to a day to obtain a copy of that article,” said Imre.
There are fewer titles slated for cancellation than in years past; the library has had to cancel a significant number of subscriptions each year for about the past five years, Imre said.
That overall trend concerns her more than this year’s journal cancellations in particular. It’s the cumulative effect of all the cancellations that is adversely impacting faculty, she said.
“We have to account for journal inflation, and then we have budget cuts … and so we just have to cut more and more every single year. So what we are doing is, we are shrinking the collection, and we are shrinking it every single year,” Imre said.
She said she believes the trend is harming SIUC’s standing as a research institution.
“The library’s materials budget is a main factor in the ranking by the Association of Research Libraries, and because our expenditures are not keeping up with our peers’, our ranking has been dropping over the years,” Imre said.
Pollitz agreed, but said there are other ways to assess a library’s impact on student learning.
“Yes, when we report our numbers to the government, it won’t look as good to the Association of Research Libraries, but in the end, it’s how we serve our students in all of the ways that we serve our students. We have a very vibrant interlibrary loan program. … So we’re always looking for other means to make things as good or even better, even in times of tough budget battles,” Pollitz said.
Susan Tulis, associate dean for information services, said she has received about seven to 10 emailed complaints about the library’s decision to close on Saturdays, mainly from students simply wanting a quiet place to study.
The first-floor common area near the coffee shop will remain open on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., offering students a study space and access to a computer lab.
“It’s not the preferred way to study in the library, because people have their own spots that they like to go to, and so that’s an inconvenience. But we looked at that and we thought that that would be the least impact on our students,” Pollitz said.
“We’re a major university. Should we be open on Saturdays? Absolutely. But we’ve lost positions and we’ve lost money. So it’s a very hard decision, but that was what we opted to go with. Would we prefer that we were open? Yeah, but somebody’s got to come up with the money and give me the permission to fill a position,” Tulis said.
A list of the journal cancellations is available at libguides.lib.siu.edu/2018MLcancels.