Temple administration has extended one-year athletic scholarships into the summer, allowing student athletes to take classes while training in the summer.
The move was made in attempt to bolster the amount of student athletes capable of graduating in four years in line with the university’s “Fly in 4” program.
In response to the money freed after December’s sports cuts, the athletic budget now has the space to provide the extended scholarships.
The summer school possibilities add to the already advantageous academic opportunities for Temple athletes, who have already been granted prioritized scheduling as well as exclusive advisors.
“Our goal is to make sure our kids graduate,” Athletic Director Kevin Clark said. “If we can do it in a four-year bundle, that’s good for everybody.”
The full-year scholarships are also expected to provide a fiscally advantageous situation for athletes who participate in fall sports. Many fall athletes spend summers on Main Campus training for the upcoming seasons, and with the new scholarships they can now take classes while training.
Women’s soccer coach Seamus O’Connor, whose team was given the option of giving full-year scholarships last year, noted how the changes impacted the squad’s success.
The team’s seven-game winning streak set a record for its program. In its first three conference games this season, the team has also posted more conference wins than all of last year.
O’Connor said his team’s ability to utilize the scholarships as means to increase training opportunities has made a noticeable impact.
“A lot of the success we’re having this year is based off of the work done over the summer,” O’Connor said. “It gives us a chance to spend more time together and for [the players] to just be here on campus and work with the strength and conditioning staff. It gives us the chance to let them concentrate on the individual facets of their game and give us the opportunity to work with them over the summer.”
The opportunity for summer classes also has helped O’Connor’s team in-season.
“I think the summer school will take a lot of that stress off,” O’Connor said. “Now we can do credits over the summer and give them the opportunity to lighten their course load [before] the season because it’s such a hard grind during the season.”
The move for the athletic administration comes as a response to what other schools in the American Athletic Conference have started to do.
“That’s something that our competitors and our peers do with regularity,” Senior Assistant Athletic Director Mark Ingram said. “It’s big for our ability to graduate.”
For the athletic administration, the decision came in part as an attempt to remain competitive and increase the quality of the fall sports teams, which make up most of Temple’s sports.
“That’s their peak training time right before their season start,” Ingram said. “In the past, those kids would go home … Is the training that they’re receiving [at home] as good as the training that we provide them? Well, of course it’s not.”
The athletic administration has also prioritized improving academic facilities for student athletes by enhancing the Nancy and Donald Resnick Academic Support Center.
The center, located on the ground floor of McGonigle Hall, features peer mentoring, private study and tutoring for student-athletes.
The spending for renovations has come in a year where Temple has spent roughly $1.5 million on new facilities for the athletic department, from locker rooms and training facilities to the full-year scholarships.
EJ Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @ejsmitty17