NIU athletes react to access policy

By Steve Dennis

Athletes at NIU generally agree with the locker room policy at Huskie sporting events and even took it a step further.

Controversy about the whole situation arises with the fact that the NIU policy allows male or female reporters to enter a men’s locker room following a 10-minute cooling off period after a game. The question then arises as to why the women’s locker rooms are closed to the media after the contests.

“I think the women’s locker room is a little bit different,” Sports Information Director Mike Korcek said. “I work in this building and I think I’ve been in the women’s basketball locker room once. One time late at night because they fixed it up and I decided to take a look in there—it’s none of our business.”

Senior women’s basketball standout Lisa Foss feels that media should be allowed to enter the locker room after the games. As a matter of fact, Foss applauded a situation last season when the basketball team played in the NCAA Tournament and the broadcast reporters did live media coverage from the locker room.

“It happened last season,” Foss said. “I thought it was kind of neat because they (the media) got the on-the-spot news. It’s not necessarily all that bad.”

Point-guard Denise Dove didn’t rule out male reporters from the women’s locker room, but tended to agree with NIU’s policy of holding a press conference in a classroom adjacent to the court at Chick Evans Field House.

“It all depends, but I see no problem with it,” Dove said. “As long as we have time to get in there, get ourselves together—shower and stuff—then they (reporters) can come in.”

When confronted with the question, men’s basketball player Randy Fens thinks access to the men or women should work both ways.

“I wouldn’t mind (female reporters) in the locker room, just as long as they are prepared,” Fens said. “If women reporters want equal rights, then it should be the same both ways.”

Soccer defender Dusty Showers holds a similar view. Showers even feels that reporters should talk to the players right away because that is when memories of the game are fresh in the mind.

“It’s alright if reporters come in the locker room,” Showers said. “Plus we talk about the game right away anyway. I do think that men should be able to go in the women’s locker room if women can go in the men’s.”

Wrestler T.C. Dantzler differed with the general consensus. Dantzler treasures an athlete’s right to privacy following, in his case, a wrestling match.

“I don’t think women belong in the locker room,” Dantzler said. “That’s your privacy right there. You go in the locker room to cool out and get away from everything. With women in the locker room, you have no privacy.”

Dantzler does appreciate the policy in which an NIU athlete is given the 10 minutes to cool off. Yet, he agrees with the idea of being escorted to the media person in event of an interview.

“That’s much better,” Dantzler said.

Admitting that it’s a tough situation, the sports information director feels that the players are the best advertisement for the school and therefore guarantees an NIU athlete’s availability.

“In our system, we have the cooling-off period. And I understand the cooling-off period, because as SID, you have to keep the coaches happy, you have to respect the rights of the athletes, but also you have to make sure the media is accommodated,” Korcek said. “You have to work with everybody. But, we are not denying anyone the access to our athletes.”