Top 10 Stories of 2007-2008

“1. InfoCision Stadium Even before the school year officially began, the University of Akron made a historic announcement. On Aug. 1, the UA board of trustees announced the approval of a new on-campus football stadium, named InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, to replace the 67-year-old Rubber Bowl.”

1. InfoCision Stadium

Even before the school year officially began, the University of Akron made a historic announcement. On Aug. 1, the UA board of trustees announced the approval of a new on-campus football stadium, named InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, to replace the 67-year-old Rubber Bowl.

Construction started on the $62.5 million project, which includes building dorms and extra parking spaces, in January and is expected to be completed in time for the Zips 2009 home opener on Sept. 19 against Indiana.

2. Bomb threats

Not even a week into the Fall semester, the university was bombarded with multiple bomb threats that characterized the first month of the school year. Six separate bomb threats effected five buildings while classes were cancelled and on-campus safety was questioned.

Jason Ford was arrested and confessed to sending the bomb threat to Kolbe Hall through a prepaid cellular phone. He was charged with making false alarms and inducing panic, both felonies.

3. Mascot of the year

Perhaps the athletic department’s greatest claim to fame during the ’07- ’08 school year was that Zippy won the Capitol One Mascot Bowl by garnering more on-line votes than any of the other contestants.

The female marsupial garnered over 40,000 votes in the championship round, knocking off the Minnesota Golden Gopher. With the win, UA received a $10,000 scholarship from Capitol One to support its mascot program.

4. Campus area crime

Crime around the UA campus had always been something to take seriously, but this year it was scary at times.

Week after week, the headlines would tell us about another mugger, rape or robbery. It became regionally recognized.

The concern took a turn for the best when Christopher Butts, 24 of Akron, was arrested on Jan. 10 in Columbus. He was charged with two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of kidnapping. It was also reported that Butts was linked to a third rape. All rape victims were UA students.

5. Quaker Square

In a move that caused immediate controversy, UA purchased the Hilton at Quaker Square to turn into residence housing. Mayor Don Plusquellic was upset since the Hilton was one of only two downtown hotels remaining.

The two parties reached an agreement that allowed half of the hotel to stay open for the public and half for students.

The hotel was renamed the Quaker Square Inn at the University of Akron and was purchased for $22.6 million.

6. Ohio Primary Election

A heated battle in the Ohio Democratic Primary placed Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton against each other for Ohio’s vote. Leading up to the election, both candidates made the trip to Akron in an attempt to capture the key vote.

Obama came first and filled the John S. Knight Center in down town. Clinton followed Obama’s visit with a speech at Garfield High School. Both candidates also participated in a national debate in Cleveland.

Although Clinton ended up winning the Ohio vote, both made an effort to rally voters for the election in March.

7. Facebook leads to suspension

A threatening comment posted on social networking Web site Facebook led University of Akron student Steven Mortensen from his dorm room to a jail cell in February.

Mortensen, reportedly posted a comment saying he was going to go on a shooting rampage against his enemies he has at Akron.

University of Akron Police quickly arrested Mortensen after a resident assistant was notified of the comment by another student. Mortensen’s comment came only days after the Northern Illinois University shooting which killed five people and wounded 15 others.

8. Fingerhut’s new higher education plan

Eric Fingerhut, Chancellor of the Board of Ohio Education, made quite a few appearances in Akron this year, highlighting the changes he hopes will soon take affect in all Ohio public universities. His plans, in fact, incited rumors of The University of Akron and Cleveland State University may merge, a promise of a University System of Ohio, a call for better academic programs and lower tuition.

No official timeline for these events has been verified, but the plan is known as the 10-year Plan for Higher Education. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who appointed Fingerhut, is the major force behind these new strategies for improving Ohio education.

9. Men’s basketball in the NIT

A year after the Zips were snubbed by the NIT after a 26-win year, they made their way to the postseason for the first time since coaching great Bob Huggins led the Zips to the NCAA tournament in 1986.

The Zips, after losing two of the most prominent players in history, were inconsistent at times but played well enough down the stretch to make it to the Mid-American Conference tournament finals for the fourth consecutive year.

At the NIT, UA notched its second Division-I postseason win in the history of the program in a 65-60 overtime win over Florida State, the program’s first-ever win over a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

10. Morrison home

The University of Akron, in its continued purchase of property inside the InfoCision Stadium footprint, paid $110,000 for a house which sold for only $77,000 the previous year.

In a turn of events, the home purchased was owned by UA Board of Trustees member Jack Morrison. Jack Morrison Jr., who owned the home in question, said he is the owner of multiple homes in the UA area. Morrison Jr. said he had even done renovations to the home on Spicer Street in the last year which was the cause for the increase in price.