Saturday, March 07, 2009

Women's Basketball Tournament: First Step Towards Championship?

One game at a time, Lady Hawks.

While it's tempting to chalk up an automatic win for the 23-6 Lady Hawks over the 5-24 Lady Raiders today at 12:00 p.m. today, it's still "win or go home" time, and Colgate would love nothing better than to salvage their season with an historic No.8-seed upsetting the No. 1-seed in the Patriot League tournament - breaking the Lady Hawks perfect home winning streak (14-0) in the process.

But if games are played on paper, let's just say Lehigh comes out... ahead. Start with an average margin of victory of more than 20 points in their two regular-season games. Colgate only managed 35 points in a 65-35 blowout loss to Navy; Lehigh managed 34 points in the first half against Holy Cross last weekend en route to their 71-60 victory. The Lady Raiders have one starter averaging more than double figures, sophomore G Tayler Weinert (11.1 ppg), while the Lady Hawks have two superstars: sophomore G Erica Prosser (14.4 ppg, 4.4 apg) and junior G Alex Ross (13.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg). Matter of fact, Prosser and head basketball coach Sue Troyan swept through the Patriot League basketball banquet, getting awarded Patriot League player of the year and coach of the year, respectively.

I've seen too many teams lose the games after they get their regular-season awards. I'll be tuning in to to see what happens - just to make sure history won't be in the making. Hopefully.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fordham Throws Down the Gauntlet

You won't find the news in any major newspaper or any official source of Patriot League information. But news coming out of Fordham head coach Tom Masella's "Meet the Recruits" event on March 3rd has exploded onto the Patriot League message board community.

While the reality of coach Masella's comments has not been verified, what is certain is that Fordham football supporters were told in no uncertain terms that Fordham laid down the gauntlet to the Patriot League leadership concerning scholarship football.

Two different message board postings have been the source of these revelations. First came the following from Fordham's message board:

Fordham has told the PL we want scholarships instituted leaguewide by June 09 .. If the PL balks we are prepared and going independent for 2010 season. then find a new home for 2011 and beyond. this is not hearsay, the FU Head Coach and the administration has sat down with PL commissioner Carol Femovich... Masella (HC)and Fordham grid alumni like the schools in the PL.. but 1aa(sic) football is passing the league by.. so we laid down the ultimatium(sic).. and the alumni are in full support of scholly's or out!!

UCONN is on the schedule 2011. Army is on schedule 2014,2015. we are looking for a 1A opponent 2010,12,13.


1aa scholly's and a 1A game every year.. finally we are moving in the right direction.!!!! FU has indeed gave an ultimatum.. personally i hope PL goes scholly.. if not were gone Smiley

That kicked off an avalanche of comments, and also prompted this posting on the Any Given Saturday board just to show that it wasn't just one person's imagination:

I attended last nights "Meet the Recruits" at MJ Armstrong's in NYC last night and 'wow, what a meeting!'


Then he dropped the bombshell. Fordham has told the PL that we're going full scholarship next season. Preferably within the PL but we'll go independent if they don't move. We currently fund 58 equivalencies - plan is to stick with that and the argument is 'no more money but much more bang for our buck'.

So, so glad that we have Masella running our program and kudos to our administration for their leadership on behalf of the school and sport.

I'll leave it to you, the reader, to read through the volumes of comments on the boards themselves from folks hailing Fordham's "gutsy" stand on scholarships. But the ramifications of Fordham's ultimatum, and what was actually said and done, still need to be sorted out.


Coach Masella reportedly said that Fordham is going "full scholarship" for next season. That means that in 2009, Fordham will be offering up to 63 scholarships for football players. But what does that really mean?

There currently is no restriction in the numbers of scholarship equivalencies and Patriot League football team can offer. So that means going "full scholarship" can't just mean going from the 58 equivalencies to the NCAA-mandated upper limit of 63 scholarships to be divvied out to the football team. Fordham could, if they chose, do that already.

If they did choose to go to 63 equivalencies under the current rules, however, those players would need to go through the need-based aid formula when determining how much athletic aid they will receive. An assessment about the parents' ability to pay for a Fordham education would be taken into account, the numbers would be forwarded to the academic aid office, and eventually the amount of aid they receive would be calculated.

The actual words of the Patriot League bylaw are:

In the sport of football, student-athletes may not be awarded financial aid
based upon athletic ability in excess of demonstrated need (also known as grants-in-aid). Any football student-athlete receiving an academic merit-based financial aid award above need should have academic credentials similar to other students generally receiving academic merit awards at that institution.

It appears that Fordham is saying: "Starting with the 2009 class, we're going to start to offer full scholarships to recruits regardless of need," meaning they would be offering scholarships the same way that it is offered in every other sport in the Patriot League:

Consistent with the above principles, and at the discretion of the member institution, student-athletes [in all sports other than football] may be granted academic or athletic merit-based financial aid awards. All student-athletes receiving merit awards above need, shall be reported annually, along with their academic index, to the Executive Director for review by the Policy Committee at its spring meeting.

Is Fordham saying that? Or does Fordham have a beef with the other institutional modus operandi of the league - that they're not willing to play ball with the newly revised academic index, or that they have a problem with the fact that the admissions office has the final say over whether athletes are admitted? Do they have a bigger problem with the way the Patriot League does its business?

There is certainly circumstantial evidence that Fordham has a beef with the new AI calculations put into place this year, which set up AI bands and changed the academic recruiting rules. The school that was clearly most affected by the new rules? Fordham - and the comments on the message boards seem to bear this out:

the recruiting class was referrred to by Masella as solid but not spectacular. the PL academic band for recruiting was frustrating to coach.


The true win for scholarships is opening up recruiting so we can get away from need-based aid and recruit who we want. The only reason AI is really a factor is because Masella said that we were told by the league that they would both be implemented one-after-the-other. Then, they implemented AI and started to balk at scholarships.

This talk of quid-pro-quo is all speculation for sure, but it's pretty interesting. But it also puts some reasonable doubt as to Fordham's endgame. Talk of coach Masella "liking" the schools of the Patriot League nonwithstanding, I'd like to see some reassurance that it's specifically the need-based aid, and not anything else, that is the issue.

Still, it's about time that somebody said something about the issue to get some forward motion on the idea of treating football aid just like the aid to all other athletes. It's unfair that football players have to jump through hoops for aid that, say, women's volleyball players don't have to jump through. If Fordham's actions make that happen, it will all be worth it.


It's extraordinary that Fordham, who is only an associate member of the Patriot League in football, is trying to call the shots in a sport where there are five full Patriot League members. Why? The answer is enshrined in the Patriot League's statement of "Who we are":

We believe that athletic programs should be integrated into an institution’s campus life and governance structure, and operate with integrity and under presidential control. The Patriot League model includes oversight of our policies at both the League and campus level while remaining focused on the individual development of all students.

This means that what Fordham needs to do isn't convince the public, football coaches and athletic directors that scholarships are the right thing to do. Fordham ultimately needs to convince the full-member Patriot League presidents and Georgetown that it's in their best interest to institute scholarships in football. And they're doing so by, in effect, laying down an ultimatum.

It's possible to picture a scenario that Fordham convinces Lehigh, Lafayette, and Colgate's ADs and BOT's to huddle together and say we want scholarships in football (though it's a lot harder to picture that same scenario with Bucknell, American, Army, Navy, and Holy Cross.) The selling point would be that the direction towards scholarships have seemed inevitable for some time now, and with the AI changes behind them, it would be good for the league - and would make the Patriot League much more enticing for other Division I schools to consider joining. It is certainly possible to see the case ending with: "give us football scholarships, and we'll get you Richmond and Villanova". (Or Fordham in all sports.)

It's also possible to picture the Patriot League presidents saying "we don't need this hassle," believing it's the wrong time to go full scholarship while GM is shedding jobs and the Dow is scraping 6500. They could just say sayonara to Fordham while grabbing Marist, Bryant and/or Loyola (MD) to take their place in all sports - who seem like they would jump at the chance for Patriot League membership, scholarships or no. Their closing argument would be: "who needs 'em? Marist and Bryant will do things our way. Why keep those malcontents around?"

The X-factor in all of this? Georgetown. Will they see a potential arms race in football that they won't (or can't) win - and simply decide to leave the league, perhaps to play in a Northeast Conference that won't commit to full-scholarship football, or play in the non-scholarship Pioneer League? Or might the Hoyas "grin and bare it" and slowly ramp up their spending on football scholarships or equivalencies? There's the distinct possibility that the League might please Fordham - but in the process push away Georgetown. (This has its own thread on the Any Given Saturday message board.)

Which will happen? Or will the presidents pick Door No. 3? It's anyone's guess.


Finally, worthy of mention here is the history between Fordham and the Patriot League - a marriage that has seen its share of turmoil.

Fordham used to be a Patriot League member in all sports, and threatened to leave over the subject of basketball scholarships in the late 1990s. Fordham was unhappy that the league was unwilling to lift the need-based aid requirement for basketball, and the Rams' teams went from NCAA tournament-worthy teams to the dregs of Division I in a staggeringly short period of time.

The Patriot League took them up on their threat and Fordham ended up joining the Atlantic 10 in all sports (but kept the Rams as a football-only member). Fordham's presence in the A-10 has not reversed the slide, however, of their basketball program. If you ask many A-10 basketball fans (and they have no vote in this), they'd love to see the back of Fordham almost as much as the Patriot League would love to see them come back.

Insofar as the Patriot League, there have reportedly been no hard feelings on both sides (Fordham's AD told me point blank a few years ago that he liked being in the Patriot League), but it's hard to escape the fact that their move very nearly caused the Patriot League's demise. Ironically, after losing Fordham, Holy Cross followed suit not much later - and got the scholarships that Fordham so desperately wanted in basketball.

Perhaps the Patriot League won't make the same mistake twice, even to lose an affiliate? Possibly - especially if the League holds out hope that Fordham can someday return in all sports. But you have to wonder if Fordham's past history with the League is a big X-factor the other way, too. Maybe the Patriot League presidents have had enough of the Fordham show, and will finally block them for good.


So many questions, and so few answers.

The only thing that can be said for sure is: dese are interesting times. And it's far from certain what the future holds for the Patriot League.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The History Of Lehigh (Men's) Basketball, And Lehigh vs. Army Tonight

I certainly don't hopethe No. 5 seeded Lehigh men's basketball team (15-13, Real Time RPI: 244) is one-and-done against No .4 Army (10-18, Real Time RPI: 288) for the third straight year at 7:00 p.m. tonight at Christl Arena. But if you look at the obvious in the last five games, you clearly see two teams heading in opposite directions.

After Army beat Lehigh 82-75 in the same venue on Valentine's day, Army went 2-2, battled Navy to the wire and scored more than 70 points in two wins (on the road, no less) against Lafayette and Bucknell. The Mountain Hawks, on the other hand, went 1-3 in the same stretch, losing to both Lafayette and Bucknell and failing to eclipse the 52 point barrier in two straight games.

The optimist looks at junior G Marquis Hall, who has averaged 17 points a game against Army this year and certainly has the capability of carrying the team on his back in the tournament, who, along with junior F Zahor Carrington (14.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg), made the first and second team all-Patriot League teams, respectively, this year. The pessimist, though, comes out in full force when considering the emergence of freshman G Julian Simmons as an offensive threat the past two games for Army, and thinking about the powerful frontcourt of Army underneath the basket.

Depressed, I started to look through Lehigh's basketball history to try to think of something positive to take into tonight's game - perhaps a nugget of past goodwill, a history of a Lehigh team that defied all odds to succeed in the tournament. But after taking a peek at the history of Lehigh basketball, I began to see what Lehigh is up against. History has not been kind to Lehigh on the hardwood.

Lehigh, first and foremost, is a football school, followed very closely by wrestling in the hearts and minds of local fans. Whereas basketball in other areas of the country has been considered an integral part of the fabric of the community, Lehigh men's basketball, despite its 107 years of history, has played at a bare minimum third banana in the minds of Bethlehemites.

Sparing you all the pain, I've distilled the history of Lehigh basketball to its essence - the key facts, and people, you need to know.


* The first recorded word of any sort of basketball being played on campus comes from the April 15th, 1901 edition of the Brown & White.  That issue talks of a "very interesting program given last Friday evening" which involved members of the class of 1904 playing basketball against a "picked team" of players.  It was a part of a gymnastics presentation to display what Lehigh's winter athletes could do.  It was this same year that Lehigh has its first basketball coach, F.W. Parsons, and would officially start competing intercollegiately in 1902.

(Worthy of mention was that members of the Ivy League had already formed basketball teams at this time.  People remember that the Ivies were the founding fathers of football, but forget that they also were pioneers in basketball, too.)

* The first recorded intercollegiate basketball game for Lehigh came in 1904, where the Engineers traveled to Swarthmore and won 21-12.  "The game on the whole was very rough," noted the Brown & White, "as is witnessed by the black eyes which Andy and Landefeldt have been sporting around the University."  Notably, Lehigh sported a seven game schedule against Princeton, Penn, Yale and Susquehanna - but not Lafayette, whose team had disbanded that year, leaving two open slots in Lehigh's schedule.  (Lehigh dominated their first two games against the Leopards in 1902 and 1903, 46-13 and 20-9 respectively.)

* In 1913 there is a reference of Lehigh's longing to join the "Intercollegiate League" in 1914 which included all the members of the Ivy League and others.  The fall of 1913 coincides with the building of Taylor Gym on campus in time for the 1914 season - undoubtedly a part of Lehigh's desire to join this league in both basketball and wrestling.

* In 1922, Lehigh and Lafayette were a part of the founding of the "Middle Atlantic States" conference in many "minor" sports, including basketball. Lehigh was (or wasn't, depending on who you ask) part of this conference in 1922, and possibly earlier.  (The founding of the "Middle Atlantic States" conference is debated - it could have been the outgrowth of the "Intercollegiate League".)

* Lehigh's media guide says that Lehigh captured one "Middle Atlantic States" conference title: the 13-1 team of 1926, headlined by the Schuab twins (Carl and Earl) and Benny Weinstein.

* From 1927 to 1958, Lehigh suffered through 27 non-winning seasons out of a possible 32 - a dismal stretch by any definition.  Typifying the period was the 1947 season: Lehigh would limp to a 5-13 record, while current Patriot League member Holy Cross would win the NCAA Men's basketball championship.  (Even Lafayette wasn't half bad this year: they'd sweep the Engineers and play Holy Cross tough in Worcester, ultimately falling 50-40.)

* In the 1958-59 season, depending on who you talk to, the "Middle Atlantic States" basketball conferences was "founded", which would later be known as the East Coast Conference. The founding members include Bucknell, Delaware, Drexel, Gettysburg, Lafayette, Lehigh, Muhlenburg, Rutgers, St. Joe's, and Temple. In the 1959 season, St. Joe's (coached by legendary head coach Jack Ramsay) would earn a first round bye before getting upended by West Virginia 95-92 - their first of eight straight NCAA tournament appearances, interrupted only by Temple's appearance in 1968. In the same year, Lehigh, on the other hand, would limp to a typical 6-16 record.

* In the 1966-67 season, a Lafayette basketball alumnus and fresh coaching face named Pete Carril, showed up in Taylor Gym to take over a sad 4-17 Engineer squad whose freshman team was 0-17 - and whose best season since formally joining the ECC eight years ago was 7-13. Carril would coach the Engineers to an amazing 11-12 record, which then-Delaware head basketball coach Dan Petersen called "the greatest coaching job I've ever seen in college basketball." A year later, Carril would head to Princeton, escaping Lehigh's basketball purgatory forever and giving teams fits in the NCAA tournament for years to come.

* The team in 1967-68 - the team molded by Carril before he left - ended the year with a 12-11 record. After that, Lehigh basketball fans would have to wait until 1980-1981 for their next winning season, a 14-12 effort (and their second year in newly-built Stabler Arena). In response to this - if Lehigh is doing this well, the entire league must be in decline - St. Joe's and Temple elect to bolt the ECC and join the Atlantic 10.

* 1985 saw what could have been one of the most improbable conference tournament runs in history: head coach Tom Schneider (and assistant coach Fran McCaffery), behind guards Darren Queenan and Mike Polaha, saw his team that ended the regular season 9-18 came together at the end of the year to upset Drexel, Hofstra and Bucknell en route to their first-ever ECC title and NCAA tournament appearance against Patrick Ewing's No. 1-seeded Georgetown team of 1985 (yes, the same team that would lose to Villanova) . While Queenan and Polaha would return to the tournament in 1987 with a stronger 21-10 team - playing No. 1-seeded Temple tough before finally falling - it was 1985 where the spell of the futility of Lehigh basketball was truly broken. Lehigh basketball could really be the big time -maybe even muscling out wrestling as a premiere sport on South Mountain. Or so it seemed.

* After Queenan, Polaha, and McCaffery (who jumped to Notre Dame as an assistant coach in 1988, and is currently the head coach of the perennial Cinderella candidate Siena Saints out of the MAAC) left, the Dave Duke era began with the promise of forwards Bob Krisansky and Dozie "We got Two... From" Mbonu (during my undergraduate years). Fans, fresh off the memory of the NCAA Tournament appearances, packed Stabler on a regular basis (averaging 3,000 a game) in what would be Lehigh's dying days in the ECC and beginning days in the Patriot League. While Duke's first teams were solid, they couldn't overcome Towson on the road in the ECC final in 1989-1990, and couldn't overcome "powerful" Fordham in the second-ever Patriot League basketball tournament in 1991-92. Folks wondered if Fordham would permanently be winning the Patriot League basketball crown on a yearly basis. (Trust me; this made sense at the time.)

* The Patriot League - and their restrictions on scholarships for basketball - had an immediate effect on Lehigh's program and others. As a result of the lack of basketball scholarships, Fordham would bolt in all sports except football, while American would join the Patriot League once Holy Cross would threaten to leave over the scholarship issue and finally allow basketball scholarships. Meanwhile, for the next 10 years Lehigh wouldn't enjoy a winning record, despite the presence of talented players like G Brett Eppenheimer and G Jared Hess. Duke would quietly leave during these dark ages, becoming an assistant coach at Penn and eventually ending at Temple under Fran Dunphy.

* Head coach Billy Taylor, seeing the Mountain Hawks have nowhere to go but up, joined Lehigh as head basketball coach in 2002-03 season. Immediately Lehigh improved. In 2003-04, Delaware transfer G/F Austen Rowland came to Lehigh and made an immediate impact (along with G Jose Olivero), helping lead Lehigh to a 20-11 mark, a home game vs. American on ESPN to clinch the Patriot League tournament (their first appearance in the NCAA tournament game).  Glee turned to shock, however, when they learned they would be shunted out to Dayton in a first-round play-in game against Florida A& M in the NCAA Tournament.  While Lehigh's blowout loss in the PIG was unquestionably a disappointment, for the second time in history Lehigh seemed poised for prolonged success, even with the graduation of Rowland.

* F Joe Knight was supposed to be the savior after Rowland graduated, but the transfer from a Texas junior college (after his time at High Point) wasn't able to carry Lehigh on his back the same way Rowland did. During his senior year, there were indications that something on his academic record wasn't quite right. Lehigh elected to play Knight the rest of the season when it became evident that some of his credits to qualify him for eligibility at Lehigh were not from an accredited school (he took an online course, I believe, from the University of Phoenix, though I cannot corroborate this). As a result of this, Lehigh had to vacate 13 victories from the 2004-05 season - though Knight himself graduated on time from Lehigh, and on the honor roll to boot. Taylor would climb the coaching ladder himself, jumping to Ball State where he continues to position himself as the future head basketball coach at Notre Dame. Assistant Dr. Brett Reed took over for Taylor, where he continues as head basketball coach to this day.


That's it, in one easy-to-read blog posting. After going through all that, I guarantee you one thing: no matter what happens in Christl Arena tonight, it will be a success in light of the history of Lehigh basketball.

Having said that, let's win one for Polaha, eh?

The game will be broadcast on AM 1230 and 1320 in the Lehigh Valley, and on

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lehigh Football News: Scheier to Bowling Green

The expected snow-in yesterday allowed me to get caught up on some Lehigh football news, headlined by word of a very poorly-kept secret - the departure of a Lehigh assistant coach.


It's not printed anywhere, but the Big Green Alert blog is reporting that Lehigh assistant coach Adam Scheier is headed to Bowling Green to serve under head coach (and former Lehigh offensive coordinator) Dave Clawson.

Scheier, who coached wide receivers and was special teams coordinator for the Mountain Hawks, reportedly will be co-special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. It's a great opportunity for Scheier, who now will get to coach for an FBS program. Congratulations!

Replacing him on the Mountain Hawks will be interesting. Not so much on the special teams side, where it's possible to envision kicking & punters coach Pete Morelli doing that job going forward, but on the wide receivers side. Here's a bit of wild, unsubstantiated speculation from me: what about Harvard wide receivers coach Dan Saganey heading to Bethlehem, only a year into the job in Cambridge?

(Interestingly, nothing is up on the Bowling Green website at this juncture and Scheier still appears on the coaching staff on the Lehigh website, though I trust the Big Green Alert and it confirms what I've been hearing for a few weeks now.)


In other football-related news, are you going to be in Billings, Montana this weekend? If you are, there's a Lehigh connection to an event this weekend, a "Pigskin Football 2009" clinic at Rocky Mountain College. Scheduled to speak is Lehigh defensive coordinator David Kotulski - who either really likes to ski or enjoys cold weather. (Maybe he's snowed in?)

Presently along with Kotulski in Billings is the defensive coordinator of the FCS national runner-up (Kraig Paulson, Montana), the head coach of another FCS program (Rob Ash, Montana State) and a slew of different coordinators from Boise State, Alabama, Arizona State and other FBS schools.

It's times like this when I wish Lehigh had enough scholarships to schedule "money games" with FBS schools. Ever since the NCAA passed the rule to allow wins by FBS teams over FCS teams with a minimum of 56 1/2 scholarships as "bowl-eligible" wins, many FCS schools have jumped on the gravy train - the latest being Furman, who backed out of a deal with Delaware to play FBS Missouri. The reason a school might do this? Aside from the exposure for the school and the experience for the athletes to play against the "Big Boys", the biggest get for the university is guarantee money - a six-figure paycheck for the opposition's athletic department. (Furman's payday is rumored to be along the lines of $400,000.)

That sort of money can plug a hole in the athletics budget - money which, at this point, is unavailable to all Patriot League schools since every school operates with fewer that 56 1/2 scholarship "equivalencies". So Mr. Kotulski might rub elbows with the coordinators of these different big-time schools, but talk about trips-of-a-lifetime to Arizona or Alabama to play a football game I don't think will be happening. That would all change with football scholarships.


Incidentally, it's kind of amusing to see the outrage and indignation from Delaware fans about being left high and dry from Furman, who beat the Blue Hens in South Carolina last year and have left Blue Hen Nation outraged that they won't play them again this year in the replay. Of particular note is the harshness: blaming Furman for "prostitution" by dropping Delaware and scheduling a guarantee game instead.

While Furman's move - especially at this late date - put Delaware in a terrible situation for the upcoming scheduling year (one that, in effect, forced Delaware to play Delaware State this year instead), it's not like Delaware always puts principles in front of revenue. Matter of fact, their yearly scrimmage against Division II West Chester and their reticence to play out-of-conference games away from Tubby Raymond field paint a different picture: one of a school that pursues financial self-interest quite vigorously.

Delaware has had fewer than six home games a year only TWICE in the last FORTY years: in 1968, the first year the Blue Hens expanded their schedule to 11 games, and in 2001, when 9/11 robbed them of an extra home game. With that backdrop, the wails and moans of Hen Nation of scheduling purity ring rather hollow. If dropping Delaware to play Missouri to balance the budget is prostitution, what is scheduling D-II West Chester every year, charity?

(By the way, I'm still waiting for Delaware's return game at Murray Goodman from Lehigh's 52-45 win over the Blue Hens in 1998.)


The first rumored name for Lehigh's Class of 2014? RB/DB Anthony Gaffney.


This doesn't directly have to do with Lehigh football, but any time Peyton and Eli Manning head to the area for football - yes, even at "that school in Easton" - it's big news. I don't know if you've heard about the "Gatorade Replay football game", but veterans of a particularly frustrating Thanksgiving game in the Phillipsburg/Easton high school rivalry - the 1993 game ended in a 7-7 tie - will be donning pads again this April to settle the score once and for all to benefit charities in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It's tentatively scheduled for April 26th at Fisher Field in Easton - and, yes, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning will be honorary coaches for the game.


Finally, one of the voices of Lehigh football, Steve Degler, will be a familiar voice this summer as he's been announced as a member of the announcing crew of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as color commentator. Congratulations to Steve!
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