For most, making it big starts in college.
Athletes everywhere dream of getting to play their favorite sports in front of large crowds on the world’s biggest fields. One of the starting stages for them is college. However, college can be pretty expensive which is why sports scholarships are a big help for athletes. Sports scholarships are given to student athletes to help pay for college expenses so they will play for the appropriate sports team. This is often used as a way to convince players to go to a certain school over other schools. Bellevue College is no exception. BC offers scholarships for athletes to help for college while playing their sport. However, all schools have a limit to the amount of scholarships they can give out.
The process of getting a scholarship starts with the recruitment process. Coaches go out to high schools and find players that are not only good athletes, but also show the ability to thrive in college. They can try to recruit the athletes to come to their school using different methods, the most common of which is giving a scholarship. Scholarships are divided into three categories: full, partial or waiver. A full scholarship at Bellevue College is worth $500 per quarter, partial is worth a fraction of that amount and waivers are worth $300 per quarter. The main requirement for getting and keeping a scholarship is that the athletes have to have graduated high school, or the equivalency of, and keep a 2.0 grade point average through the entire year. If the requirements are not met, then the student loses their scholarship. While keeping up with school and a collegiate sports team is a daunting task, athletes must be able to manage if they want to keep their scholarship money or place on the team.
The BC Athletic Director Bill O’Connor is a big part of the scholarship process. While he is not directly involved with giving the scholarships, he keeps track of all of them and knows where all the money goes. “The total we pay back to the school is closer to $70,000” he said.While coaches have a good amount of scholarships to work with, they do have to be smart with how many they can give, since all of it needs to be paid back in the end. “Coaches have the final decision. They know what they have to work with. The dollar amount is strictly the way they look at things,” said O’Connor.
The journey does not stop there. BC also helps their student athletes get recruited to traditional universities and possibly get scholarships after they leave. “Last year we had approximately 38 of our student athletes that participated in our 10 programs go on to [traditional universities ]with some kind of financial help from that four-year school,” said O’Connor. A little bit of financial help for college goes a long way. Scholarships are a great option for athletes that not only help them play their sport at a higher level, but help them pay for their higher level of education.