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NIU should be celebrated

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch answers questions during news conference Detroit Thursday Nov. 29 2012 for Mid-American Conference championship NCAA

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch answers questions during a news conference in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, for the Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game on Friday against Kent State. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Updated: January 5, 2013 6:13AM

On Sunday night I was privileged to be with the Northern Illinois University Huskie football team as they watched the announcement on ESPN that they would play Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Barely had the cheers, hugs and high-fives subsided when ESPN announcer Kirk Herbstreit decided to put these young men in their place.

Decrying their selection over the established football powers such as Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida, he went on a rant that got personal. This team didn’t belong. Their selection was a joke.

NIU in the BCS? Herbstreit was outraged. “Are you kidding me?”

In the match between David and Goliath, Goliath had his own cheerleader in Kirk Herbstreit.

Let’s not forget the fact that it was the rich and powerful BCS that wrote the rules in the first place. All NIU did is play by their rules — and win.

Eventually the American public will get to know a little more about this group of hardworking young men who have achieved a goal almost no one believed within their grasp. Here’s what they will find:

† An NIU team with longest home winning streak in the nation;

† The nation’s leading rusher in quarterback Jordan Lynch;

† A team that has won two MAC championships in a row and will be appearing in its fifth straight bowl game;

† The only team in Illinois appearing in a BCS bowl game;

† An NIU football team that ranks fifth in the nation in Academic Progress Rate among NCAA FBS schools — ahead of all the schools Herbstreit would prefer to see playing in the Orange Bowl.

† And it’s all done with an athletics budget about quarter the size of the teams Herbstreit mentioned.

Shouldn’t we be celebrating these qualities in college athletics today?

Mike Malone,

board member,
NIU Alumni Association,

Glen Ellyn


A letter published Monday gave the wrong date for a noon gathering in Federal Plaza to urge Sen. Dick Durbin not to side with corporations and the rich in the budget debate. The correct date is Dec. 6.

Company has stellar record

As chief executive of Scrub Inc., I deeply object to Mary Mitchell’s column titled, “O’Hare’s janitorial contract a messy situation.”

It is unfair and inaccurate to characterize a company with a stellar performance record for more than 40 years as having an “unsavory” background. Scrub did enter settlement agreements with the EEOC to address discrimination claims but we did so to resolve the dispute and avoid litigation that we believe would ultimately have exonerated Scrub but cost much more to resolve. The settlements included no admission of wrongdoing on Scrub’s part and required that we increase efforts to diversify our work force. We aggressively set out to do that, working with some of the same organizations mentioned in the article, as well as other prominent African-American leaders.

We at Scrub take great pride in the diversity of our work force, the majority of which is composed of minorities. This has been the case for many years, long before any issues arose with the EEOC. We attract a more local work force with applicants who frequently walk into Scrub’s office, which is located in the 6000 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. Scrub Inc. stands by its commitment to fair and equitable treatment for all of its employees, as we have for 40 years.

Roman C. Chmiel, CEO, Scrub Inc.

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