Student athletics remain on hold, but award funds are still benefiting students in need

By: Emma Honeybun

Kendra Moen shoots a basket in a game against the Wesmen on Dec. 3, 2016./TAYLOR ALLEN

A portion of Red River College Polytechnic’s available student-athlete scholarship money is being repurposed to help students in need during the pandemic while sports are suspended.

RRC Polytech opted out of sports for the 2021-2022 academic year due to looming safety concerns around COVID-19.

The college didn’t give student athletes their scholarship money as a result.

RRC Polytech has three awards for student athletes that are funded by the college: Rebels Students Awards, RRC Athletic Awards, and Red River College Students’ Association Athletic Awards (RRCSA).

Emily Doer, manager of communications and public relations at RRC Polytech, said among the three awards that are available, two are being used to assist students with their tuition.

“With the impacts of the pandemic, we learned that many of our students were facing financial challenges, and the decision was made to repurpose funds from the RRCSA Athletic Awards and RRC Athletic Awards to support students in need through the COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund during the 2020-2021 academic year until athletics resume,” Doer said. 

Applications for the emergency fund are no longer being accepted, but students who are struggling financially due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact Student Services.

The college has given more than $350,000 to students in financial need since the start of the pandemic.

Although the majority of student-athlete awards have been repurposed, the college is holding some funds in the event sports return for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The Rebels Students Awards, an annual fund dedicated to the players on the RRC Rebels varsity teams, will be distributed normally once the varsity sports teams return, Doer said.

Evan Thor, a first-year student who received a sports grant in high school for hockey, said he’d be interested in college sports at RRC Polytech once they start again.

“If they’re holding [awards] for the future, I think that would be a good idea,” Thor said. “They’ll be more generous, they might influence more people to go, and that could end with higher competition that would be good for the school.”

The college has not announced when sports will return to RRC Polytech.