Providing scholarships for athletes is one of the best ways to fund athletic programs, because when the athletes are competing for that first scholarship, he or she will be determined to show his or her best athletic abilities to the coaches. One of high schools and colleges highest sources of budget increases is the talent and the physical abilities of the athletes on the athletic teams. However, this is not the only source of income that athletic programs depend on. In addition to budget increases, they also depend on fundraising, donations, advertising and sales to name just a few incidents, which increase the number and amount of the scholarship funds. Besides this, the entire image and pride of the educational institution depends on the success on the athletic teams. Although athletes may be perceived as academically non-competitive, and the majority of the student body and school officials may claim they spend most of their time playing or have unrealistic life goals, the athletes are the primary reasons why the school gets media attention, and increased budgets to purchase new learning technologies.
Athletic scholarship programs are more effective than academic scholarships as far as causing the school to be one of the top rated institutions. Having scholarship programs can be very rewarding for the school, as it can attract the top athletes who are serious about playing their sport professionally. It is a compliment and an advantage for the NFL football player to say he went to this certain university on a full scholarship, especially if that athlete is an exceptional player, and becomes well recognized. Not only will that school attract many more top athletes in years to come, it will attract many competitive students.
Athletic programs attract students, even non-athletic students to particular institutions; therefore, it is mandatory that the importance of athletic activities is not passed off as extra-curricular. Winning football, basketball, softball, volleyball and even championship winning cheerleading, dance and drill teams will cause students select one school over another. Sometimes academic teachers and non-athletic students say star athletes are chasing after a dream and it is not reality. Nevertheless, athletics is not their reality, but it does not mean it is no one else's reality. These athletes are training hard, and pushing beyond their physical limits day in and day out for a reason. Physical athletes are training with equal intensity for an athletic career as the law student whom studies many hours in the library for his personal career as an attorney.
One of the primary sources of funding for scholarships come from donations, and sometimes this includes fundraising for scholarships. To get celebrities and other businesses to invest in scholarships, the athletic program must be advertised and publicized. Most people are generally excited about giving to athletic programs for many various reasons. According to the Cyber-Journal of Sport Marketing, "the two primary reasons that explained giving to athletic programs were involvement with athletics and emotional motivation" (Tsiotsou, 7/28/99). Of course, there are many other reasons people and businesses open up scholarships in their names, one of the reasons, it is a great advertisement and tax write off. Bakel, 1979, has stated "our values, beliefs interests, hopes, fears and other feelings and habits not only motivates us to give, but also determine to which causes we give," (p. 43, Cyber Journal of Sports Marketing).
Many times, successful and top playing athletes get introduced to business opportunities, especially during the off seasons. As former athletes themselves, they realize the lack of funding that goes to school athletics, and remember the days when they had to work a part-time job, put in many hours of practice, keep up the minimum grade requirements to stay on the team, and on top of this, participate in many fundraising events so their teams can exists. In addition to this, they also realize the impact of the contribution they made as athletes that outsiders cannot relate or understand. The entire school system, the administrative, the school board, the teachers, the student body all demands the entertainment of athletic games and events, but no one wants to help out with donations or volunteer opportunities to cover the expenses, and sometimes the burden is put on athletes. Granted, there are people who are very generous, and more than happy to participate, these are usually the parents of athletes, who put in just as much time to support their athletic children. The expenses are still astronomical, and former athletes who own businesses are probably the ones who will feel the most motivation to invest in scholarship funds.
Unless the scholarship fund is generic, or for a particular sport, not a particular school, a business will only invest in a winning star team. And who can blame them? Even when used as advertisements or business write offs, the name the scholarship is carrying wants their business to be advertised in a winning light. Usually, winning teams will be well-known across the country and will not need to have any publicity to encourage investors to invest in a specific scholarship fund for their school. But more often than not, athletic teams need to be brought out into the open and ask for donations for their scholarship program.
Investment in a scholarship program is continuous, instead of a one-time donation. A business may give a one-time donation of two thousand dollars, and later his business will be out of the advertising. On the other hand, the business can open an investment fund at the bank and give the interest on a yearly basis as a scholarship fund, and his business would get continuous recognition. Although the one time donation would be much more money to one individual athlete, setting up a scholarship program would benefit many more athletic programs.
Setting up scholarships is a wonderful way for the coaches to see how well the perspective recipients can really play. For example, the athlete entering into college, competing for a scholarship is very much like their first professional job in the sport of their choice. The athlete realizes that winning a scholarship not only means having partial or full tuition paid for, it also means being recognized as one of the best and most competitive athletes in his or her chosen sport, and besides this, winning a scholarship looks great on a resume when convincing the professional athletic directors that they are the ones to be considered for once in a lifetime golden opportunity. When competing for the scholarship when first entering college is that student's first and most important chance to impress the coaches, so they will be playing their hearts out. But the athletes do not get up that day and decide they are going to go for the gold.
Athletic students have been preparing hard for many hours, and making the necessary sacrifices, and getting the correct training for the past many years to be ready for this moment. People have argued that that athletic scholarships are unfair because some students will be gifted at athletics and others are not. Anyone who makes the commitment and dedication to achieving athletic goals will be able to run faster, play harder, throw or kick a football farther and faster, no matter what ones hereditary genes are. As a result of this, some universities are prevented from giving out athletic scholarships, because ignorant people think athletes are born with some "gift." This type of thinking reflects a negative attitude and an excuse for laziness. I do not think students who have put in so many years of dedication and hard work should be punished because of some of the societies negative attitudes.
Competing for scholarships does not lower students self-esteem or self-worth, it teaches them to become better athletes, to work harder and to use their competition who defeats them as visual goals to strive for. Even the athletes would never win scholarships, but keep trying will become a much better athlete competing against their competition than if they never had anyone to show them how good they can be. True, only a handful of talented athletes can win or receive scholarships, but when they are competing in the workplace for employment, only one position is available for many applicants.
"Many people today, especially long-term fans feel that collegiate sports are tainted and have lost their purity because of the amount of commercialism and marketing that is embedded in collegiate athletics. In addition, there exists a large contingency of people that consider corporate sponsorship nothing more than a blatant prostitution of athletics for the sake of money.
They contend that schools are essentially selling their souls to the devil by giving into the increasing trend of partnerships between businesses and colleges or universities. However, college administrators would argue that this is indeed a necessary evil light of the skyrocketing costs involved in running a successful athletic department in today's competitive society"
(Helitzer, 1996). Also this commercialism funds many of the athletic scholarships.