That theory will have a chance to be tested in the coming years.
President Robert Campbell announced during a media conference on Saturday that a new one million dollar bursary and scholarship will help support student athletes, allowing them to succeed in both the classroom and in the game.
“To date, $1 million has been pledged towards the James Rogers Student-Athlete Awards,” said Campbell, as he reviewed how facilities have been enhanced with the addition of the new all-weather field and seating for sever hundred fans.
Earlier this year, athletic director Pierre Arsenault had predicted something like this when he said most of the local university’s teams have about 20 percent of what others spend in recruiting top athletes. He said a new five-year plan would soon be launched that should result in varsity athletics at Mount Allison reaching a new plateau.
“But who would ever have thought a day like this would happen?” Arsenault pondered.
Campbell said the new student-athlete awards and the endowment represent a new level of support for Mount Allison’s varsity athletes and their academic and athletic endeavours.
“We thank the donors for this consequential gift. It is very much a game changer for our athletic programs.”
The awards and endowment are named in honour of James E. Rogers, former chairman with Back Office Associates, a worldwide leader in information governance and data modernization based in the United States. He currently serves on multiple public and private boards across North America.
David Booth serves as CEO and chairman of the company and is generally credited with the launch of the program for his alma mater.
Following the meeting, Booth said much of the funding has been offered by his company and colleagues. He also noted that an additional $50,000 had just been pledged during the past half hour.
Older sports fans will remember David’s father, Eddie Booth, who was a top player with the revamped Sackville Eagles during the early 1950s.
David Booth was the spearhead behind the many improvements in the Mount Allison athletic program as he co-chaired the fundraising for the field and bleachers.
All of these upgrades and enhancements have occurred with Robert Campbell as president. His leadership and commitment to athletics has been unswerving, while Arsenault has guided the ship in the correct direction.
Campbell went on to say that in addition to their academic demands, varsity athletes invest an average of 30 hours a week to their sport through training, practice, travel and game time.
“Through this experience student athletes are able to gain important life skills such as communication skills, teamwork, time management, resilience and leadership.”
Campbell said the new student athletic awards will include entrance leadership awards recognizing extracurricular involvement, team leadership and community engagement for incoming students, as well as student athlete scholarships and bursaries recognizing academic accomplishments and demonstrated financial need.
Recent reports on athletic awards issued by USport have shown some universities offer up to five or six times the number of awards provided by Mount Allison. So the new source of dollars could definitely help close the gap, at least partially.
The new awards will be available to student athletes beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
Jim Rogers and his wife Lucy were in town for the announcements and got to enjoy watching their new team – the Mounties – carve out an impressive victory over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men on Saturday afternoon.
Following the game, he expressed delight in all that he had seen and heard in Sackville over the weekend and hinted that he might become a regular visitor.