Walk-on athletes must earn scholarships

Walk-on athletes must earn scholarships

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Reporter


The stigma prevails that all college athletes must be on some kind of scholarship, but the fact remains that each sport only has a certain number of scholarships to distribute, leaving some players without any form of athletic financial aid.

Senior Jake Pugsley is a walk on for the football team. He said that being a walk-on athlete requires a large amount of passion for the sport you play.

“[The] motivation to play my sport has always been loving the whole process of getting to play on Saturdays. You truly have to earn it,” he said.

Because Pugsley is not on a full scholarship, he has to work harder to prove himself to the coaches and earn his playing time. He said that this can alter his motivation because he can become discouraged and frustrated during practice.

Overall, however, he said he embraces the challenge and constantly looks for new ways to showcase his abilities on the field.

“I believe when you are paying for something yourself, it means a whole lot more to you,” Pugsley said.

Athletes have the potential to work up to a scholarship in any sport based on their ability and demonstration of improvement. Linebacker J.C. Agen is such an athlete.

“I walked on, and after a couple years the coaching staff decided that I deserved a scholarship for my performance on the field and off the field as well,” he said.

Agen was a redshirt walk-on during his 2009 season. By the 2010 season, he was named to the Big Sky All-Academic team and was named Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week. According to Agen, his determinative mindset helped him persist through his initial redshirt year.

“I think that coming in as a walk-on, I had to work very hard to prove to my coaches and to my teammates that I could be an asset to the team,” Agen said. “Everyone on the team works very hard, but my mindset might have been a little different compared to someone who was on scholarship because I had to prove my worth day in and day out.”