The Convocation Center should be used for more important things

By Aaron Brooks

There comes a point in life when you have to realize you suck at certain things. For NIU, the time has come to realize that the athletic potential of recruits, for some programs, are on par with a couch-potato.

I am frustrated by NIU spending $6 million on a new football facility, but since NIU has had some high caliber players like Michael Turner, Ryan Diem and most recently Larry English, I find some rational for keeping that program.

NIU men’s basketball, however, is abominable, atrocious, dreadful, garbage, inferior, stinking and unacceptable. I say this not only for the fact that NIU has had two seasons above .500 in the last 15 years; or for the fact that NIU has sent only five players to the NBA (all of whom played 1 or 2 seasons) – the last being Donald Whiteside in 1997; or because NIU men’s basketball drew a whopping attendance per game last year of 1,204 (second-lowest in the MAC); but the main reason is that last year, the program lost $1.03 million.

To put that in perspective, on top of all the costs already embedded in your tuition to support the miserable basketball program, the share per student of the monetary loss would equal almost $44. I don’t know about you, but I would rather fill up my gas tank than recoup that loss for NIU men’s basketball team so it can have another losing season in which I never attend a game.

The administration of NIU is out of touch with reality and its students. NIU is a smaller university, and instead of focusing on the slim chance that it will attract high-caliber prospects for the athletic programs, it should focus on returning to low-cost, high-quality academic programs.

Needless to say, I am proposing that NIU cut is basketball programs. The question now turns on what to do with the Convocation Center.

Since DeKalb seems to be incapable of attracting investment for student based nightlife, I say we turn the Convocation Center to the “Funkocation Center”. Give the Campus Activities Board (CAB) full domain over the “Funko,” and if NIU allocated even one-tenth of the money it spends on basketball to CAB, CAB would have the “Funko” rocking every weekend with bands and DJs.

What would attract more students to NIU, a losing basketball program or quality nightlife? What alumni would be a greater asset to NIU, an ex-basketball player now selling used cars or an ex-CAB officer who has connections in the music industry? The answer seems simple enough to me.