Athletic department pays $3 million to general scholarship fund

By Becca Clemons

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UK Athletics is increasing its contribution toward academic scholarships by $1.3 million this year, funding the 51 new Singletary Scholars, and has plans to fund that scholarship for the following three years.

UK President Eli Capilouto and athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced the increase in funding in June at a Board of Trustees meeting. The increase brings the contribution from the athletic fund to $3 million for academic scholarships.

Sandy Copher, UK’s director of academic scholarships, said the money goes toward the general scholarship fund and is mostly going to Singletary Scholars, but money could fund other academic scholarships as well.

There are a record 51 students this year receiving the Singletary Scholarship, which is named for former UK President Otis A. Singletary and covers the cost of tuition, housing and a stipend. That’s up from 34 students last year and 31 the year before, Copher said.

Copher said the department plans to recruit about 50 Singletary Scholars each year in coming years.

Don Witt, UK’s vice provost of enrollment management, said his department is excited that UK Athletics is helping to attract and retain bright students by funding scholarships.

Barnhart said in a recent interview with the Kernel that with state funding cuts, his department wanted to be able to give back some money to the academic side.

“We have been giving $1.7 million out of our budget the last eight years,” he told the Kernel. “So, in total for the 10 years we have been here, we have given about $16 million in cash to the university. We want to be a good friend of the university.”

Capilouto noted in a news release that UK’s athletic department is among a few in the country that is self-sustaining.