The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

May 8, 2014

Shed tear for a loss few may realize

(Continued)

“In all the years I I coached, I raised all the athletic scholarship money,” he said. “None of it was from the school. I’d sell ads in the program and ask for donations from businesses and hold fundraisers.

“I did a study at the end, and we were by far at the bottom of giving tuition scholarships. It hasn’t changed since I left seven or eight years ago.

“It’s hard to compete with schools giving full-ride scholarships,” Walker said.

While ending the sports programs might only cost the school a dozen or two students, it will lessen the potential educational experience for everyone at the school.

Kimani Stevens, a sophomore from the Virgin Islands, played for the Cougars basketball team the past two years. Although he is moving on anyway, he was saddened by the decision.

“It broke our hearts to hear,” he said. “I think they don’t care about students.”

Even with a scholarship, attending CCC came with a price for him. It didn’t matter.

“We spend so much money on flights, but we still want to be here and represent the school,” Stevens said.

Spending time in the Midwest was part of the learning experience for him, but it also provided a look at a different culture for other students he met.

“There are so many other ways to learn,” he said. “I experienced a lot of new things in Iowa I didn’t see on the islands.”

But, without basketball, there’s little chance the Clinton community will be exposed to the next Kimani Stevens or the handful of other players who might have followed him from his homeland, and vice-versa.

“It benefited me in a good way, going to school and getting my degree. If it wasn’t for basketball, I wouldn’t be here. Basketball has helped me in so many ways.

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