Jazz To Continue Popular Scholarships For Wins Program

Oct 20, 2021, 9:07 AM
Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will continue their popular program that awards scholarships for each win the team records this season.

Jazz owner Ryan Smith introduced the scholarships initiative in January of 2020, looking for a new way to tackle the educational needs of underrepresented students.

Last season the program resulted in 55 total scholarships between the team’s 52 regular-season wins and three preseason wins.

“It’s not only to give folks money who wouldn’t have had a chance,” Smith told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “A lot of people don’t know how to get the process going of getting into college.”

After the season, the Jazz released a video with several of the team’s players calling students who had applied for the scholarships to tell them they had been chosen for the award.

The Jazz scholarships cover up to the full cost of attendance — including tuition, books, fees, and room and board — for each recipient’s undergraduate education at one of six universities in the state of Utah.

“We will go to universities and say, ‘Hey, we want five or six scholarships, guaranteed, we’re going to bring kids who have never had a chance to do this into your university,’” Smith said. “And we’re going to help cover the cost, will you accept them?”

The program was the first of its kind to tie scholarships directly to the number of team wins last season.

Though the team finished with the best record in the NBA last season, Smith said the Jazz players were excited to learn about the program even during the preseason.

“They were asking, ‘Okay, we had a preseason win, does that count as one?’” Smith said. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that counts. A win is a win. In reality, we’re just trying to drive change.”

The Jazz open the season Wednesday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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