This is Missouri Western at its spirit.
For the second time this year, Western has made national news. This time, Kevin Hart, an offensive lineman who lied four years ago about being signed to a Division I school, will now play at Western.
This isn’t an underdog story. This is a Western story. Sure, Hart made some mistakes and he has had to live with them, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get a chance. It is commendable that Western athletics has decided to give him that chance.
This isn’t important because he’s a good lineman. It isn’t important because now we stand a better chance of beating Northwest Missouri State again. It isn’t important because we don’t think he’s going to make the same mistake again. It isn’t even important because again, Western made national news. It’s important because Western is a welcoming place.
Amid budget cuts, tuition freezes and depleting state appropriations, Western still welcomes anyone. Low GPA? They’ll work with you. Struggle with your homework? Free tutors. Having a hard time finding a job? Experienced professionals in career services.
This entire place, with its 10 academic buildings and countless invaluable staff and faculty, are here to help you.
Western is such a wonderful place that Hart, who was once so set on playing D1, chose Western instead of a D1 school. Maybe it’s the fact that he’ll play two seasons here instead of one at Appalachian State. Hopefully, it was because Western knows the value of second chances.
Second chances are priceless because they open the door you once thought was shut. The story you hear from a majority of students on campus is that they came to Western to better their lives. Well, that door may be closed for good.
Sadly, there is a future where Western doesn’t exist, one in which budgets cuts have made the idea of Western a laughable mockery. A place where you can learn for under $10,000 a semester is not in that future. Let’s face it, without Western, a lot of students here wouldn’t be attending school. They wouldn’t be bettering themselves.
I’m sure there are other schools in the nation that service the same type of students, but the idea that knowledge and education is an exclusive product is an antiquated ideal. Western lets students make their lives what they want—or at least get a start at doing so.
So, welcome, Kevin Hart. Say hello to your fellow classmates, because they have been there at one point. While our mistakes may not have been broadcast on ESPN, you’re one of us: a student trying to erase his past and write his future.