NIU needs to review academic policies

Before we begin this week, there’s a burning question that needs to be answered—why in the hell are people riding bicycles around campus when it’s well below zero, there’s snow on the ground and the wind is blowing at 40 miles per hour?

The NCAA recently had their annual powwow where university presidents try to wrest control of their sports programs away from the athletic directors. As usual, much of the debate centered around stricter academic standards.

Speaking of which, the NIU men’s basketball team is short on manpower, largely because three players were declared academically ineligible for the second semester.

When looking back at many of the recent problems NIU athletes have had, such as alleged criminal activities and problems in that inconvenient world of academia, how can one not be in favor of higher standards for all collegiate student-athletes?

Of course, some people might think the term “student-athlete” qualifies for oxymoron of the week status, but to do that would be doing an injustice to the many student-athletes who bust their tails on the playing field while managing to stay eligible and out of trouble.

The point is, NIU needs to raise its already high standards and do some serious background checks on its would-be athletes.

An athlete is here first and foremost to get an education and should not come here in the first place if they can’t keep up with the coursework.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at some of the shady characters NIU has recruited:

‘Brian Banks—Although only charged with criminal trespass, there was some speculation that this former forward allegedly stole some money from a blind student’s room. Couple this charge with previous allegations of stealing a $600 check, and even Ray Charles can see this kid is a bad seed. Oh, I’m sorry, a 23 year-old isn’t a kid, now is he?

‘Antwon Harmon—last year’s center was allegedly involved in the $600 stolen check case (see above).

‘Stacey Robinson—yes, our former star quarterback was charged with criminal trespass in connection with a burglary. In addition, it was often touch-and-go when it came to his eligibility as well.

‘Tim Green and Larry Wynn Jr.—charged with criminal trespass in the Robinson incident mentioned above.

‘Thomas Osteen—defensive tackle charged with two counts of aggravated battery in a much-celebrated incident outside of Amnesia.

‘Brett Schroeder and Rich Favor—each charged with one count of aggravated battery in the Amnesia incident. Although this was impossible to verify because of the university holiday, a call came in claiming Schroeder has been cleared.

‘Mark Layton and Hubert Register—both hoopsters are academically ineligible this semester. The sad part is, Layton is a two-time loser.

Oh well, at least NIU hasn’t had a rape or corruption incident yet. Those kind of things tend only to happen at football powerhouses like Oklahoma. And if that’s the price a school has to pay for a successful sports program, maybe NIU is better off the way it is.