With financial restraints happening to collegiate athletic programs across the country, a team of athletic professionals with significant experience in college sports have come together to create Rescue College Sports (RCS), a resource that provides funding for college teams in need of financial assistance due to budget cuts related to COVID-19.
The RCS campaign was created by Tarek Merchant, ImRecruitable Founder/CEO,
his colleague, Jon Sklenar, Eric LaRue (Head Tennis Coach at Hanover College) and Andy Crabtree (Head Golf Coach at Oklahoma City University).The purpose of this initiative aims to provide financial support to any college sports team that could use additional funds to continue operating a successful program.
"I started Rescue College Sports because I got tired of being a helpless bystander while college sports teams were being cut,” said Merchant. "My tennis team’s program at Jacksonville University was cut in 2012. It hurt not being able to support my Alma Mater and I don't want that to happen to other teams. As a former student athlete, I felt it was my duty to provide an outlet for coaches, parents, athletes (current and former) and fans to contribute to helping teams in need of aid.”
Coach LaRue has been a college coach for over ten years and wants to support all teams for those who need it. Recently, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) had their men’s and women’s tennis team eliminated because of budget restraints. According to the team’s GoFundMe page, they raised $40,000 which unfortunately fell short of the $150,000 needed. LaRue’s goal is to unify college sports to ensure cases like UAH do not become a trend.
“While some cases are justified to cut college sport’s teams, I believe that some programs are being cut without the opportunity for coaches to save their programs,” said LaRue. “Through the Rescue College Sports campaign we want to provide a stimulus package for those programs that need the funding the most. Our goal is to provide a call for unity and support one another through this uncertain time."
The primary objective of RCS is to help support teams for those who need additional support. Jonathan Sklenar explained that the goal is for the campaign to be a resource that coaches can rely on.
“I talk to a lot of college coaches in my profession and I understand the financial challenges these coaches are going through and the budget cuts for some of their programs,” said Sklenar. Through the Rescue College Sports initiative we want to give back as much as possible for those programs in need.”
Andy Crabtree has been a college golf coach for 13 years and believes the disruption caused by COVID-19 will have short term and long term effects. “In the short term, all athletic programs will be impacted in some way whether it be scholarship cuts, budget cuts, and reduced opportunities for student-athletes,” said Crabtree. “In the long term, we could see many more athletic programs eliminated completely.”
With combined resources, the team intends to rescue as many teams from becoming discontinued. The RCS campaign will end August 31; however, the deadline can be extended if the initiative continues to raise funds.
Rescue College Sports Information:
To help support, you can visit the link here (RescueCollegeSports.com) to make a donation. Individuals will have the option to donate to a specific team if they choose. All donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a written acknowledgement for their records reflecting the amount they donated.
Additionally, college coaches or athletic department staff can also apply for funds. Applications for teams will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis. Click here to go to the application form.
If you have any specific questions or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate, go to: www.rescuecollegesports.com
About Rescue College Sports:
Rescue College Sports aims to be a large contributor in helping ALL college sports teams with the necessary funds required to continue running a successful sports program and providing a priceless student-athlete experience. With major budget cuts already happening due to COVID-19, teams across the nation will continue to feel the impact of this terrible pandemic and we will see more and more colleges having to make the tough decision to cut budgets or drop sports teams. College Sports are a huge part of the American culture and a great opportunity for students to thrive in sports and academics. We want to Rescue as many teams as possible.