Eagles Athletics implements new priority system

By Fetlew Gebreziabher, Online Sports Editor

The Eagle Athletics Fund, formerly the Eagle Athletics Association, has introduced a new priority point system to help distribute benefits to faithful donors.

“The Eagle Athletic Fund is the fundraising arm for Eastern Athletics, and it provides scholarship support for our student-athletes. It’s also an umbrella for membership for anyone who donates to athletics. Whether it’s to the Eagle Athletics Fund, which supports the scholarships for the athletes, or to the restricted sports specific accounts,” said Laurel Hosmer, director of Development & External Revenue.

Hosmer said the new system is implementing a lot more benefits to members and making sure they are taken care of for supporting student-athletes.

Ken Halpin, associate athletic director for External Affairs, said the athletics department have “rebranded the fund this year to give it some new life.”

Hapin said hopes the new system will help the athletics raise more money than they ever have in school history.

“We’ve invested in some new technology and some new structure to try and be able to raise hopefully more money than we have historically through donor support for student-athlete scholarships,” said Haplin.

The department is now using a new software through TicketsWest, which is the ticket provider for all EWU athletics. Haplin said this new T-fund system is “an athletic-specific CRM system” that is standard for the larger athletic programs in division I.

“It basically marries the history of the donor activity with the history of the ticketing activity. In college athletics, when you have a relatively successful football or basketball program, it’s not uncommon for schools to focus on benefits those donors can receive,” said Haplin. “We’re going to marry those two together with this software system and allow us to take more online donations and get more folks’ attention.”

According to the EAF page on goeags.com, there are eight different donation levels. Every donation level provides you membership in the EAF and also benefits such as priority to purchase season tickets, parking passes and VIP access.

Though the university helps the athletics department in funding scholarships, Haplin said he hopes the new system will raise enough money to not worry about leaning on school support.

Hosmer also encourages the EWU community to get involved and support the student-athletes.

“Student-athlete experience isn’t just a scholarship. It’s academic support, it’s sports medicine, it’s training, equipment and all the stuff that impacts their day-to-day life,” said Hosmer. “In addition to that philanthropic support, membership also provides you benefits for those who are interested in having priority assignment for football tickets, men’s basketball tickets, RV tailgate spots and things in that nature.”

According to Haplin, there are about 350 student athletes, but not all are on full scholarships. Even with past success of offsetting the university cost, Haplin said the key is, “it’s never enough” to help these student-athletes have the full experience.