Pay to stay? How to win a scholarship by watching hoops

In an effort to draw more students to games Winthrop Athletics pays some students for their attendance.

Winthrop Athletics is trying something bold and new: actually paying students to attend its college basketball games. Game Changers, as it’s being called, is a first of it’s kind scholarship program that randomly awards three $500 scholarships to attending students every time the Eagles win at home.

The program applies to both the men’s and women’s teams and will run throughout the regular season.

Men’s head basketball coach Pat Kelsey said, “I think this is a groundbreaking…innovative…first of it’s kind type thing.” As of now, no other program like it exists in NCAA Division I athletics.

“Maybe this becomes such a cool thing that there will be more game changer donors to create more scholarships to light this thing up, and give more money,” Kelsey said. 

How it Started

The program owes its existence to the work of new Winthrop President Dan Mahony and the Winthrop’s Board of Trustees. Through fundraising and donations, the school’s top brass was able to establish the program.

In a statement release President Mahony stated his high hopes for the program. “The Game Changers scholarship program is a win-win proposition. Our talented basketball players receive the support and encouragement they need on the court, and our students can earn money to put toward their tuition and ultimately, their future. I can’t think of a better investment than one that directly benefits our students.”

The Rules

The rules are simple. All Winthrop students must bring their student IDs to home basketball games. At the entrance the ID will be scanned. The student will need to stay at the coliseum throughout the duration of the game.

If the Eagles win then three random students who are sitting in the student section will be given a $500 scholarship.

For a full schedule of Winthrop basketball home games visit the Winthrop Athletics website here.