How Scholarships are Funded and Alums Help

Inside Sparta has been discussing one of the main hindrances that prohibit the San Jose State athletic programs from recruiting out-of-state players - the cost of funding scholarships. SJSU Senior Associate Athletic Director John Poch spoke on one of the ways the school raises capital through its scholarship drive.

One of the most coveted accomplishments for any student-athlete is the awarding of a scholarship to attend the college of their choice. For the player that usually means the cost of tuition, books, and boarding is at least partially, and often fully, paid for by the institution.

However, while the scholarships reduce the cost of education for the athlete, they are by no means without cost to the athletic department. The funding of these scholarships comes directly out of the athletic department's budget and run into the millions of dollars. According to the official San Jose State athletics website the department receives no university or state scholarship support. Therefore funding is generated through donations and endowments from fans, friends, and alumni through scholarship drives.

San Jose State is now in the midst of its annual drive, which runs from April through June. With over 100,000 San Jose State alumni in the Bay Area alone, one would think there would be plenty of support. Inside Sparta spoke with SJSU Associate Athletic Director John Poch on how the current drive is progressing.

"With the downturn in the economy, everyone is feeling the impact - including Universities," Poch said. "Our scholarship drive is made up of approximately 1,200 donors and we need to be at a minimum of 3,000. The scholarship drive is the top priority in our fund raising campaign."

It was only four years ago that the department wallowed in a million dollar-plus deficit, and there was loud talk around campus that the football program - the flagship of the department - would be eliminated in order to save money. While huge strides have been made since Tom Bowen took over as athletic director, more is needed.

"In order for SJSU to compete with the best we need their support now more than ever," Poch said. "The only way we can even the playing field is to raise the funds to be able to provide the scholarships needed for our teams. SJSU had program-best seasons for gymnastics, swimming, water polo, and tennis matched their highest win total ever. Women's golf and baseball won the WAC, and we have athletes competing in the NCAA Individual championships in men's and women's golf and gymnastics."

SJSU recently released the news that all 16 varsity sports had met or exceeded the NCAA minimum Academic Progress Rate, another major improvement during the Bowen tenure. When he arrived, only seven of the 16 teams were at or above the minimum.

"Our success is measured not only by the athletic performance of our students, but also by their contribution to society and the community before and after graduation," Poch said "To achieve the best for our student-athletes and become more nationally competitive we must recruit and retain top athletes from across the country by providing financial incentives via scholarships."

If you would like to assist in the San Jose State athletic scholarship drive, you may contact Poch directly at 408-924-1739.

"We need the Spartan Nation now more than ever," Poch said.

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