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MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Tyler Cochran had 15 points to lead five Ball State players in double figures as the Cardinals romped past Indiana State 97-75 on Saturday.

Luke Bumbalough added 14 points for the Cardinals. Miryne Thomas chipped in 13, Payton Sparks scored 12 and Demarius Jacobs had 11. Thomas also had 10 rebounds.

Micah Thomas had 19 points for the Sycamores (3-4). Xavier Bledson added 15 points and seven assists. Cameron Henry had seven rebounds.

Cooper Neese scored only 5 points despite coming into the matchup as the Sycamores’ leading scorer at 17 points per game. He was 0 of 6 from behind the arc.

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Youngkin having a ball as Virginias education system descends into chaos

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin holds a basketball thrown to him by the Norfolk Academy Basketball Team during the 74th Virginia inaugural ceremonies on the steps of the State Capitol on Jan. 15, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia.

Sure, he's just two weeks in office and being sued by seven school districts and a group of Chesapeake parents, but Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin is “having a ball” despite upending the state's education system with his order to make in-school masking optional.

“The sense of purpose is overwhelming,” Youngkin told a friendly Virginia crowd Wednesday at the National Federation of Independent Business. “The first lady and I are absolutely having a ball.”

Youngkin has injected sheer chaos into the state's education system with his executive orders banning the teaching of critical race theory and giving individual parents the ability to opt out of local school mask mandates. He has also set up a snitch line for parents to report the teaching of "inherently divisive concepts" such as racism.

But Youngkin's effort to give parents unilateral control over whether they endanger the lives of their own children while simultaneously endangering the lives of other parents' kids unleashed immediate havoc on educators and parents across the state. Seven school boards, including the largest in the state—Fairfax County Public Schools—sued the governor immediately to stop his order from taking effect.

A Washington Post analysis of all 131 school districts found that 69 districts—or 53%—are still mandating masks for all students in defiance of Youngkin's order, which was supposed to take effect Monday. The Post writes:

Cumulatively, those districts enroll 846,483 students, or about 67 percent of the state’s public school student population. The divide falls along partisan lines, although not perfectly: Almost every district that opted to make masks optional is in a locality that voted for Youngkin in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

Youngkin's order was also a bait and switch on what he said about masking when he was campaigning for governor. Youngkin had suggested he would leave masking decisions up to individual school boards, saying that "localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works.”

At the time, Youngkin’s stance was consistent with the wishes of some two-thirds of the Virginia electorate. In a September 2021 Washington Post-Schar School poll, 66% of Virginia’s public school parents said they supported mask mandates for teachers, staff, and students, as did 69% of registered voters overall.

Now Youngkin claims his new order is consistent with comments he made on the campaign trail.

“What I said all along is that I’m going stand up for parents’ rights when it comes to their children. I do believe that this should be a local decision, and I think parents should have the right to opt out," the governor told reporters Wednesday. “If localities want to have mask mandates, they absolutely are able to do that. However, parents have a right to opt out — they know what’s best for their kids," calling the bait and switch "100% consistent" with what he campaigned on.

The science is clear: Multiple studies have found that in-school mask mandates decrease transmission of the coronavirus and that universal mask wearing saves lives and keeps kids safe in in-person school settings.

So what Youngkin is defending is the right of one parent to put another parent's child at risk.

“The governor and attorney general are in coordination and are committed to aggressively defending parents’ fundamental right to make decisions with regard to their child’s upbringing, education and care, as the legal process plays out,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.

But not to worry, Youngkin's “having a ball.” Wonder how many Virginia parents are sharing in the levity.   

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