NIU Athletics should look at its free tuition initiative failure as an example of what needs to be improved rather than put the blame on students.
No student could be awarded the free tuition waiver promised by NIU Athletics’ Mission 6 initiative because at least 6,000 students did not attend each of the six home football games, according to a Thursday Northern Star article. The Editorial Board considers this wrong because the requirement of 6,000 students was never clearly stated or advertised.
Students who attended every game and stayed for the duration were eligible, according to the NIU Alumni Association website; it is stated that the 6,000 student attendance was a “goal” not a requirement.
The announcement that no one won the tuition waiver came long after the football season ended; up until last week students who attended all the games were still under the impression they had a chance at winning a semester of free tuition. In order to prevent the disappointment that followed, Athletics should have had a smaller prize ready for those who attended all the games.
Not awarding the free tuition waiver due to a technicality reflects poorly on NIU Athletics because it damages NIU’s credibility in terms of promises made to its students.
When the Mission 6 initiative was first announced last semester, NIU received a lot of attention in the media for this promotion; news outlets like the Daily Chronicle and Chicago Tribune reported on NIU using free tuition to attract students to football games. However, in the many NIU press releases written and published about the initiative, there was no mention of a 6,000 student attendance being a requirement in order for the contest to work.
It is wrong of Morris White, assistant athletic director for marketing and game experience, to blame students for the failure of the initiative.
“The promotion would have been more successful had our students met the requirements of the initiative … . The decision was made by the students because essentially the criteria wasn’t met,” White said in a Thursday Northern Star article.
While having 6,000 students at each home game isn’t a lot to ask, White and the other members of Athletics should have made it more clear to students exactly what was necessary for Mission 6 to succeed.
The Northern Star Editorial board recommends Athletics clearly announce the requirements for any future promotional contests in order to avoid the confusion and disappointment that resulted from Mission 6 failing. We also recommend NIU Athletics give away some sort of prize to the students who did attend and stay for the duration of all home football games.