Local UIndy graduate assistant wrapping up career during virus pandemic


This was supposed to be a big month for Alec Rohr.

As a sports information graduate assistant at University of Indianapolis, he was going to work during the NCAA Division II men’s basketball Midwest Regional from March 14 to 17 on campus.

Later this month, he was set to work during the NCAA Division I women’s basketball Final Four in Fort Wayne.

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The NCAA, however, announced March 12 that both events were canceled because of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

While it was disappointing for the players and coaches involved, it also was tough for Rohr because he’s in his final year of working for the UIndy sports information department and final semester of working on his master’s degree.

“I was not shocked. I saw it coming,” the 24-year-old Seymour native said. “I think the biggest emotion I felt when the tournament was canceled was just the sorrow I felt for our team. They missed out on the tournament last season, and this year, they came back and earned the right to host the regional, just one of eight teams in the entire country that hosts the regional on their home floor.”

Rohr said he kept up with updates on Twitter.

“First, the fans were not going to be permitted to the regional and it was only going to be open to team travel parties as well as essential staff,” he said.

“As things started progressing, I was once again just sitting on Twitter on my computer waiting for any news to come available,” he said. “Our compliance director, who was serving as the tournament director for the week, was on the phone all day with people but was told around the same time that the news came out.”

For the first time since 1997, UIndy was set to host the regional tournament. The Greyhounds had earned the Midwest Region’s top seed with a 24-6 overall record, including a 22-6 mark inside regional play.

Among those victories were fellow NCAA tournament programs Truman (No. 2), Bellarmine (No. 5) and Southern Indiana twice (No. 6).

The Greyhounds also were two wins from matching the program record of 26 for a single season.

“Like me and so many others, they were just disappointed,” Rohr said of the players and coaches. “They played one of the hardest schedules all year, playing tough nonconference games and playing in one of the best conferences in all of D-II. They had it all taken away.”

One of the big wins was in January in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Bellarmine was the only unbeaten team left in D-II men’s basketball, and we went into their gym after they came into ours just a month before and beat them in overtime,” Rohr said. “After that moment, I knew we had one of the best teams in the country, and they were looking forward to the tournament.”

There were eight teams in the regional, including one coming from more than 600 miles away.

“Our team was tough to beat at home. They had only lost at home twice all season,” Rohr said. “The expectation is always to win. We were expecting to win our regional and be going down to Evansville for the Elite Eight the next week. Elite Eight in Evansville was never in doubt for this team this season, but I knew the coaches and players were wanting to go play in Atlanta for a national title.”

Rohr said a positive during the ongoing pandemic is that all three NCAA divisions are offering spring athletes an additional year of eligibility after canceling the spring season. He expects most UIndy athletes to take advantage of that.

Another impact for Rohr and other UIndy students is having to take classes online for the remainder of the semester.

Fortunately for him, it wasn’t much of an adjustment.

“Most of the classes for my degree were already done online,” he said. “We typically met once and month, while the rest of it was done online.”

Also, Rohr is set to earn his master’s degree in May, but graduation has been postponed. A new date has not been set.

He has been working on his master’s degree since receiving his bachelor’s degree in December 2017.

While pursuing his bachelor’s, Rohr worked in the sports information department for three years.

He most recently served as the media contact for men’s and women’s soccer, women’s basketball and baseball. Duties included scheduling interviews with media personnel for players and coaches, maintaining statistics and record books and posting social media content for his four sports and others.

“I just enjoy still being around teams,” he said. “After being an athlete for 10 years, I wanted something to do in sports, so I pursued a career in sports. I work with some of the best college athletes in the country, so getting to be a part of their experience and give them exposure is one of the most rewarding things of my job.”

Sports are assigned to the students based on the season. Rohr’s fall sports were men’s and women’s soccer while helping with coverage for football and volleyball. In the winter, he had women’s basketball and helped with men’s basketball. In the spring, he covered baseball while helping with men’s and women’s lacrosse and softball.

“I have learned that just because I work in Division II athletics, the level of talent that I see is remarkable. My parents came up for a basketball game last month and even my dad was impressed with the level of skills and competition that D-II has,” he said.

“Aside from that, seeing the behind the scenes of college sports has been an amazing experience, and many things I have learned are things you do not learn from a book or a classroom but real-world experience,” he said.

His college experience also has taken him to various places outside Indianapolis.

The first really big trip he took was last season with the men’s soccer team. Head coach John Higgins invited him to go with the team to Toronto for a training trip.

“They played a couple exhibitions against some colleges up there and had a sightseeing day in downtown Toronto that really gave me the chance to connect and get to know the team,” Rohr said. “They ended up making the Final Four this past season, so I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this past December for that after winning the regional at Bellarmine in Louisville.”

Also, in November, the women’s soccer team made it to the regional final in Mankato, Minnesota, after upsetting the No. 2 and 3 seeds in Findlay, Ohio.

With his time at UIndy coming to an end, Rohr has big plans for the future.

“After I get my degree, I want to get into professional football and become a scout in the NFL and work my way up into a front office and eventually become an NFL general manager,” he said.

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