AIB ends athletic, new merger details and its meaning for small college

by Ben Rodgers

The scene at AIB College of Business Thursday, Feb. 5 AIB was one of tears, anger and stress expressed by students and faculty as the school’s administration announced that this spring will be the final semester for athletics at AIB, a decision emanating from the financial and enrollment issues at small private colleges

“We are taking it really hard, but we are coming together and trying to build as much support for each other as we can,” junior women’s basketball player, Alexyss Burkhartsmeier said.

Students and faculty at AIB were also notified that a merger with the University of Iowa is nearly in place, and would be in effect, at the soonest, in the Fall of 2016.

“The Board of Regents still needs to approve this transition,” said chair of the AIB Board of Trustees, Chris Costa. “We are hoping that they see the same benefits that we do”

Of the nearly 450 AIB students who will not graduate before 2016, they will not immediately become University of Iowa students, and should look into transferring.

“Any AIB student that wants to go to Iowa will have to meet the same transfer requirements that any other transfer student will,” AIB’s chief academic officer, Christy Roland said.

The new location would be called the Regional Regents Center opposed to the University of Iowa Des Moines.

For many students, especially student-athletes, this has prompted transfer requests.

Student-athletes with scholarships, or 60 percent of the athletes, will be able to keep their scholarships through June 2016.

“We’ve gotten a number of transfer requests in the last eight or nine days, AIB athletics director, Al Dorenkamp said. “We’ve told these students that we’ll do a number of different things to help with to their next page in life.”

Many students are uncertain as to their fate if they do transfer, especially with AIB being a business school strictly.

“The athletic director will help us with class transfers but I’m not 100 percent sure with how classes with transfer,” junior basketball player Marcus Mechaelsen said.

Considering Simpson College’s proximity to AIB, the similar opportunity for competing in athletics as well as the frequency at which the two teams compete, it’s fair to speculate that a number of these student-athletes will apply to Simpson.

This situation raises may raise concern for private schools like Simpson, in stiff competition with the growing popularity of state schools.

“Small private colleges are facing tremendous competition in attracting students, and there’s a national trend of closures,” Costa said.

Student-coach for the dance team, Kc Pruneda, hopes it’s not a trend for schools like AIB.

“I’m not entirely sure how small Iowa schools are really like,” Pruneda said. “But I wouldn’t wish this upon any other small school in Iowa because it’s been really hard on all the professors, coaches and students-athletes.”

While many scholarships are available, it’s not easy to ignore the higher market price for a school like Simpson, but the greater opportunity to be a student-athlete is a draw.

Taking this side is first year head women’s basketball coach, Courtney Boyd, who doesn’t foresee this in the near future at private schools like Simpson.

“I don’t see it happening at a similar school,” Boyd said. “Even though private schools are smaller and more expensive, there is still a need for them.”

More details on the situation at AIB and it’s connection to Simpson are to follow.