Sapp named ambassador for recruiting platform
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A new online platform aims to dramatically change the recruiting landscape by giving fans an opportunity to support the funding of collegiate athletics while supporting their favorite colleges and universities.
UBooster is a one-of-a-kind program that allows ordinary fans to show their support for their school’s athletic prospects. Fans pledge funds in support of a prospect’s consideration of a particular college. If an athlete chooses that fan’s specified athletic program, then the school’s booster club will receive the funds to use under its own guidelines. Fans participating in the UBooster program do not have to pay pledges if the athlete doesn’t choose their school.
Patrick Sapp, a former NFL linebacker, serves as the ambassador for UBooster as it unveils its national campaign in the next few weeks. He was heavily recruited by numerous colleges coming out of high school in the early 1990s so he knows first-hand how young athletes feel.
“You hear a lot from coaches, your family, your friends,” he said. “But you never really knew how much the fans cared unless you lived near that college. This is an honest way for athletes to see if the people who will be cheering them on at the next level really are interested now.”
UBooster works when fans set up a simple account on the UBooster website. They can work with friends and other donors to pledge funds that show in real time how their fundraising stacks up compared to other programs. On National Letter of Intent Signing Day, if a future college athlete chooses a fan’s specified school, then that fan’s pledge is charged and the donations made in honor of the schools selected by the future college athletes are turned over to the booster clubs of each school. If a future college athlete chooses a program other than the one supported with a pledge, the fan would not be charged, although the fan could still choose to fund his pledge.
This program merges the excitement that many feel while watching college athletics with the anticipation of the recruiting process - creating a first-of-its kind platform.
“The fans that cheer in the stands have a new way to get involved before the game even begins,” Sapp said. “This is truly a game-changing event and a way to fund the future of collegiate athletics.” College football’s National Letter of Intent Signing Day is coming up on February 4, 2015, but all men’s and women’s sports will eventually be available for booster pledges and contributions through UBooster. All athletes will ultimately benefit from UBooster because the platform gathers and sends all contributions to the appropriate booster clubs, which in turn can manage those funds within the provisions of Title IX.
UBooster was started due to the evolving requirements to compensate college athletes for use of their likeness and image, guaranteed full four-year scholarships, and increased stipends to cover an athlete’s full cost of attendance, all of which are quickly creating new financial obligations for hundreds of colleges and universities. Cases such as O’Bannon v. NCAA and Jenkins v. NCAA could threaten the ability of collegiate athletic programs to survive in this new climate.
UBooster offers fans of these schools an entertaining and educational platform for helping their colleges and universities meet these additional financial challenges in a way that is unique and focused on compliance with existing NCAA regulations.
NCAA regulations do not permit the funds raised through UBooster to go directly to high school athletes or athletes playing at the college level, and UBooster aims to support that. UBooster is providing a new funding source for booster clubs to offset the rising costs of college sports.
When fans contribute funds through UBooster, student-athletes will ultimately benefit as the booster clubs that receive these contributions can allocate these funds to student -athletes within their own program parameters.