Editorial: Keeping free aid doesn’t teach life lessons

NIU athletics is adamant on stressing the importance of its student athletes.

Beyond being athletes in their respective sports, they’re students in our university’s classrooms.

Some athletes come to NIU on a scholarship to continue their athletic career while trying to complete a degree. But once an athlete is removed from a team, if they’re still on scholarship, something doesn’t add up.

This is the case with Tim Toler. Once a member of the NIU men’s basketball team, Toler was dismissed from the team after he violated an uncited policy.

Though Toler is no longer a member of men’s basketball, he’s still on scholarship at NIU.

This doesn’t make sense.

Toler came to NIU under a contractual obligation. It was simple: play hoops and study.

For whatever reason, Toler didn’t fulfill the second part of that agreement in the eyes of NIU athletic director Jeff Compher and men’s basketball coach Mark Montgomery.

NIU athletics’ motto is, “We develop champions…in the classroom, in competition and in life.”

It’s clear that Toler didn’t fit the mold of that motto. If that’s the case, then why should he continue to get a discounted education when he’s no longer playing basketball?

It isn’t a stretch to say many NIU students pay their way through college by any means necessary: working full time, having multiple jobs or taking out student loans.

Having Toler continue his education after breaking his contract goes against NIU athletic’s belief to make lifelong champions.

Plus, if the money from Toler’s scholarship had been saved, it could have gone into giving a scholarship to a struggling quality student athletes, since NIU is so intent on meeting its Vision 2020 goals.

Actions have consequences, whatever they may be, and Toler should learn that life lesson. Making Toler pay for his last semester of college would have done just that.

If Toler wanted to continue his studies at NIU, it should have come out of his own pocket, not athletics’.

College is a time to learn, and sending that message to Toler would have gone beyond a diploma, cap and gown.