By Meredith Kreigh
In January, the administration told the student body that $250,000 in athletic scholarship cuts would not affect current student athletes. That is not the current case, according to freshman volleyball player Kelsea Knudsen.
Knudsen’s scholarship was cut, and, as a result, she will not be returning to Bryan in the fall.
“I was given time to pray and decide. While the majority of my decision to not return was financial, it was also personal,” said Knudsen.
Head Volleyball Coach David Shumaker told his team in February that, due to budget cuts, scholarships could not just take a little bit from each player; they had to be “deep and wide,” hitting a few players hard, according to Knudsen.
Shumaker held one-on-one meetings with each of his players, followed by a gathering of the whole team, detailing what the players were allowed to talk about concerning their scholarships, said Knudsen.
Shumaker expected their individual decisions by March 1, she added.
He told the team it was not personal; there simply were not enough funds to support all the returning players, said Knudsen.
Shumaker declined to comment on the situation for this story.
Vice President of Enrollment Management Mike Sapienza addressed the situation, saying Bryan is starting a new scholarship program, where athletic scholarships can no longer be combined with academic scholarships. It will either be one or the other, which might cause some confusion. In some cases, the total amount might stay the same, while the way it is presented in the award letters might change, he continued.
This is not supposed to affect returning students adversely, said Sapienza.
There are a number of reasons why scholarship cuts may have affected current students. It is possible that individual performance-based cuts were made. There could be other reasons though. It could be due to an insufficient GPA or a situation with team chemistry, said Sapienza.
If a student athlete has a problem with his cut, his first stop should be the head coach of the team, said Sapienza. If they need more assistance, they should approach Dr. Sandy Zensen, athletic director. Beyond that, they should contact either Sapienza or Vance Berger, vice president of finance.
Zensen declined to be interviewed for this story.
“At the individual level, it is the coach’s decision and that can mean anything. Any cut in a student’s individual scholarship was not based on overall departmental budget cuts,” said Sapienza.
“The majority of the time, the athletes’ scholarships are not cut … .We are probably talking about, if there are any, a handful of students who have been affected in that way,” he continued.
However, there are at least seven varsity volleyball players whose scholarships have been partially cut, according to Knudsen.
“If there are people who have been affected who should not have been, I want to make that right,” said Sapienza.
After the new scholarship program has been in place for a year, there shouldn’t be as many issues, he added.