SMU Student-Athletes: What Happens When Summer Comes

April 14, 2011  

SMU student-athletes

By Logan May
ljmay@smu.edu

TJ Nelson, 19-year-old SMU soccer player, is on a full scholarship and receives a stipend every month throughout the school year to meet his financial needs.

He never worries about the cost of groceries, running out of gas money, or having to turn down an offer to go out to dinner on a Friday night.

The monthly “allowance” is a big advantage of being a student athlete on a full scholarship. The stipends are distributed before the first of every month from August to May for $1,415. But what happens when the summer months come and there is no stipend?

Student athletes come to a crossroads when the summer months arrive, and they, in turn, must look for alternatives to make up for the income that they no longer receive.

“You need a game plan for your money,” said Raymond Durham, former CFO of CellStar Company. Durham also recommends saving at least 10 percent of each month’s stipend as well as applying for a summer job to cover necessities and extra expenses.

So, let’s say an athlete lives at the Carlyle Apartments off University. Rent costs about $650 if you live with a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment. Utilities usually range from $60 to $100. If you need groceries weekly, that may cost another $300 for the month, and gas money may cost you $100 per month depending on how much you drive. This totals about $1,130 just for one month.

If an athlete saves $200 per month for September to May, that would equal $1800. This is a good start for the summer, but may not suffice.

Here are some potential choices for summer income:

Work camps:

The SMU soccer program hosts a number of summer camps throughout June and July. The coaches hire current SMU women and men soccer players to work the camps. A typical income for a week of camp is about $500, just enough to pay a month’s rent. With about 3 camps per month, this is a wise investment.

“Working camps is the best way to make money because I’m getting paid to play soccer all day,” says Nelson.

Save Your Money:

Another avenue to take is to save a bit of each stipend to put back for the summer. Junior football player, Taylor Thompson, puts $200 away each month in order to pay rent in June and July.

“I don’t necessarily want to get a job, so I make sure I am smart throughout the school year,” says Thompson.

Summer School:

There is one more beneficial choice, summer school. This allows student-athletes on full scholarship to receive a stipend throughout the summer. This should not be the one and only choice for summer income since not all athletes are guaranteed a spot for summer classes.

So if you are a student-athlete weary of the long summer with no financial support, it is wise to start looking now for a summer job or alternative to meeting your financial needs.

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