Editorial: Fleck’s 24-hour stint with NIU shows lack of class

Loyalty is a fickle thing in sports.

After four years playing and two years coaching at NIU, P.J. Fleck looked like he was ready to rekindle his relationship with his alma mater. However, one day after accepting NIU’s offensive coordinator position, he resigned.

Huskies head coach Dave Doeren said in a press release that Fleck “said he does not feel he’s ready to be an offensive coordinator.”

While he wasn’t ready to oversee an entire offense, he was ready to pounce at the opportunity to join the NFL as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wide receivers coach.

We get it. A chance to coach in the NFL doesn’t come around often. Coaching some of the world’s greatest athletes does sound awfully tantalizing. But did it warrant Fleck leaving the Huskies in the dust as he so rudely did? Absolutely not.

NIU was Fleck’s Giving Tree: offering him a chance to play, allowing him to work as a graduate assistant under then-head coach Joe Novak and letting him jump ship for Rutgers two seasons ago without a fuss.

Even now, Fleck got more than he deserved from NIU. Doeren took on what could have been a public relations disaster with grace and poise.

You don’t have to know anything about football to take a life lesson from Fleck’s decision. Think before you speak. That’s exactly what Fleck should have done before he accepted Doeren’s offer to join his staff.

College students are taught to think, process and reflect on decisions. Commitments, especially when they have the potential to be life changing, need time to be thought through. You weigh your options, perhaps sleep on it for a day or two and go from there.

Fleck seemed to do the opposite. He dove into NIU football headfirst and quickly hopped out when the NFL came to call.

What Fleck did is unacceptable in the real world. He made the decision to return to NIU and be a leader, and he should have stuck by it.

But then again, if that’s his leadership style, we’re better off anyway.