Student athletes can score more than points

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Grace AmsdenEditor-in-chief

Beyond the team bonding experience, rush of adrenaline during games and physical activity, Pierce College student athletes can also receive an athletic scholarship which goes toward Pierce tuition costs.

Scholarships are constantly being awarded to student athletes, Director of District Athletics Duncan Stevenson said.  

“On average, we award between $50,000-$60,000 in athletic scholarships every year,” Stevenson said.

Guidelines for scholarships are determined through the Northwest Athletics Conference, the sports organization that Pierce College is a member of. Each sport at Pierce has a specific number of scholarships that can be given out.

A maximum scholarship for a student per quarter is $513 and the lowest is $100. Coaches can give a partial to full scholarship amount, depending on the amount of funding.

“We didn’t have a minimum up until, say, three years ago, when the conference decided there needed to be a minimum to give it value,” Stevenson said.  

For the men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball and softball team, each sport can award about $17,000 worth of scholarships per year. The basketball and volleyball team can both award about $12,500 in scholarships per year.   

“The guidelines are based that we can give up to 40 percent of resident tuition for a student taking 15 credits, and that calculates out this year to $513,” Stevenson said. “That’s a quarterly scholarship.”

Student Kailie Alama who plays for the softball team is a student athletes who has received a scholarship. The amount of money associated with the scholarship didn’t matter to her, as she said she’d feel grateful for any amount given. Since receiving the scholarship, Alama said that she must work even harder as an athlete while keeping up with schoolwork.

“I feel like if I don’t do well in school or in softball, I let my coach down because he did his part about giving me a scholarship,” Alama said. “Now, it’s my turn to return the favor and do my part as well.”

There are multiple ways that money is raised to support these scholarships. One of way is through the Raider Athletic Club booster club. According to the Raider Athletics website, “The club’s aim is to unite Raider fans, alumni, and community business partners with the common goal of achieving excellence in academics and intercollegiate athletics.” There’s about $53,000 in the booster club, Stevenson said. The club includes Pierce faculty members and outside organizations/businesses.

According to the Raider Athletics website, a donation “goes directly to enhancing the program’s scholarship award program, and helping us meet programmatic needs for equipment, travel, and post-season participation.”

There are levels in the club based on the donation amount to the booster club. At the top is the chancellor level for donations of $500, the president level for donations of $250 and the director level for a $100 donation.  

For each level, the donor is given a gift of appreciation for supporting Raider athletics. They may receive a Raider Athletics warm-up jacket, a Raider Athletics polo shirt or annual Pierce athletic event pass. For full descriptions, go to the booster club tab on the Raider Athletics website.

Donations can be used to fund scholarships, decided on by the donor. The restricted account stores money for scholarship funding, while the general fund consists of donations that can be put to any use. The money in the restricted account is at the highest it’s been, Stevenson said; there’s currently about $12,000 – $13,000 within it.

Scholarship funds can also be raised is through team events. For example, the 5th Annual Raider Baseball Dinner Auction was held Jan. 30 at the Fort Steilacoom campus, raising money for the baseball team which goes into the booster club account.

“The rest of the revenue raised from the event will go into an unrestricted account, both of them specifically for baseball,” Stevenson said. “The coach has the discretion to use it to help fund scholarships or help fund team equipment, uniforms, apparel –  anything like that related to the cost of running the program.”

Team members working for security and at concessions stands at Seattle Seahawks games is another way to raise money.

“We’ve been slowly trying to build a base so the coaches and the teams have more resources to work from,” Stevenson said. “They (the team members) also have to be actively raising money in order for those funds to come in.”

Working at these games contributes to each team’s account. The coach of each team can choose how to distribute it to the team members. This year, the teams worked at every Seattle Seahawks home game, Stevenson said. At each game, about 15 team members would work all day and together earn $1,200, which is put into the team’s account.

“You don’t get to go watch the game, which is the downside, but you get to team build (and) meet other people,” Stevenson said.  

The teams have been working at these games since 2002, Stevenson said. Besides the Seahawks, the women’s basketball team has worked at Mariner games, the softball team at Husky football games, the soccer team at White River Amphitheater. Various teams have also worked at the Tacoma Dome for concerts.

Snap! Raise, the online platform for raising money through social media, is utilized by student athletes, who spread the word about their team through social media.

Each team, except for the baseball team, has utilized Snap! Raise in the last year, Stevenson said. The money raised through this will go into the unrestricted account unless noted to be used toward scholarships in the restricted account.

“I think we’ve probably netted across the department about $18,000 (from Snap! Raise),” Stevenson said.

Besides reaching out to others, students can reach into one of the vending machines on campus to retrieve a snack or drink they purchased, perhaps not knowing this money supports student athletic scholarships.

“All that money goes into the athletic scholarship fund and that’s about $25,000 a year (made from the vending machines),” Stevenson said.

Funding for student athletic scholarships is also allocated through the services and activities budget fee committee. This year, the Raider Athletics was funded about  $21,000 from the S&A, Stevenson said. About 10 percent of proceeds from the Foundation annual golf tournament event are used toward scholarships, as well.  

The process for receiving a scholarship is quick, Stevenson said. A coach decides to award a scholarship, then this information is transferred through the Intranet and sent to the cashier’s office. The student doesn’t physically receive the money.

Student Colten Barnes plays on the baseball team and received a scholarship.

“My scholarship was (for) a total of $500 for my first and now currently my second quarter of my sophomore year,” Barnes said. “I was very happy when I was told about the scholarship. A scholarship for the sport you love is always a blessing.”

After a scholarship is awarded, the reactions from the student receiving it can vary, Stevenson said, including feeling entitled or questioning the amount of money they received, though these responses don’t occur often.

“You get others where it’s the one thing that helps them in school, (with) family finances and all the other things – they wouldn’t be in school if it wasn’t for the athletic scholarship,” Stevenson said. [/responsivevoice]

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Grace Amsden
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Student athletes can score more than points

by Grace Amsden time to read: 5 min