Athletics finally cuts back

Three cheers for Richard Brown!

Brown, the dean of the College of Business, put in a little overtime and found a way to cut a little more from NIU’s gorilla-like athletic department.

The issue was debated at Friday’s meeting of the committee on Organization, Productivity and Salaries. OPS is NIU President John La Tourette’s troubleshooting group which came up with enough money to give all faculty and staff a 4.4 percent pay hike over the next two years.

Athletics was set to contribute $200,000 during the first year of the plan and $400,000 during the second year, which was a large amount by any standard.

Brown identified funds in the athletic department’s guarantee account which could be used to ease cuts in important areas like academics.

However, when one considers that NIU student fees and tuition dollars have been wet-nursing the athletic department for years, the department can certainly loosen the burden on students. After all, during two OPS meetings, Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell sung the praises of his department’s efforts to increase outside funding. From all accounts, he appears to have been successful.

The bottom line is that NIU’s mission is to educate students, not fund sports teams. Brown convinced La Tourette to take a positive step in that direction.