BYU football quarterback sneak: BYU passers return to Provo to raise money for endowment
In South Carolina, Clemson offers 252 full scholarships for 500 student athletes. In the early '90s, they had nearly 90 endowed athletic scholarships, but pressing facilities needs required a change of plans, said Bert Henderson, executive director of IPTAY, the Clemson athletic fundraising organization established in 1934.
Clemson worked with donors to release the funds from scholarship endowments and funneled them into much-needed renovations to facilitate recruiting.
"You want to put as much away for a rainy day as you can," Henderson said, "but we have to keep our house going."
The endowment program at UCLA began in the mid '80s when a group of donors devised the concept of "four deep," or endowments for four players of one position.
Now, UCLA offers 300 endowed athletic scholarships with nearly 70 for football, said Shawn Heilbron, associate athletic director of development at UCLA.
The school is looking at endowing coaching positions and will likely roll out something next year, Heilbron said.
For decades, UCLA focused heavily on building its endowment but in recent years worked more on capital projects and building the annual fund. When they complete their $130 million renovation of Pauley Pavilion, they'll focus again on endowments, Heilbron said.
As a public school, the University of Utah relies heavily on state funds, ticket sales, fundraising and money from generous donors "just to turn the lights on every day," said Doug Knuth, associate athletic director for external relations at the University of Utah.
"We all dream and wish that we could focus on endowments," he said. "Securing the future, that's a brilliant idea, and the dream is to raise more endowment funding, but the need is currently to do everything else, unfortunately."
The Utes operate on a $30 million athletic budget with a $5 million endowment pool. They offer 40 endowed athletic scholarships with a handful of football-specific endowments and four fully endowed football scholarships.
University of North Carolina has been endowing athletic scholarships since 1968, but the $35,000 gift for a full scholarship endowment is now $500,000, said senior associate athletic director John Montgomery, also the executive director of the Rams Club.
Nearly 850 donors have endowed full or half athletic scholarships, including 85 for football, and those gifts assist nearly 450 students each year, he said.
The economic slump took UNC's endowment fund from $200 million to $160 million, which pays out about $8.5 million each year.
The interest was enough for last year's scholarship costs, but this year, the athletic department will most likely have to supplement the scholarships with its annual fund and other fundraising, Montgomery said.
Utah State University, through its $2.4 million athletic endowment, offers 33 endowed scholarships with 14 for football, said Kent Stanley, senior associate athletic director at USU. The school also has four other endowments that are used for facilities and equipment, rather than scholarships.
Utah State hopes to complete a $400 million capital campaign by 2012, with a focus on endowments, because "that's how you secure your future," Stanley said.
Although the economy has slowed down the donation process — what used to take several months may now take years — devoted fans are still devoted, he said.
"People who have been philanthropic continue to be philanthropic," Stanley said. "Donors have a passion for whatever it is they want to support."
To help BYU fill its coffers, eight months ago, former BYU quarterback Nielsen pitched Wilson and the other six All-American quarterbacks who will come to Provo this weekend the idea of a fundraising "Y. Quarterback Weekend" with the million-dollar goal.
"If the endowment can cover the cost of one scholarship, it frees up other monies," Wilson said. "And that's the idea — we'd like to help some way. It's Gifford's idea, and it's a great idea, and I'm totally behind it."
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