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To Walk On Or Not To Walk On

Jacob Turner-

Collegiate sports are non-professional athletic activities performed by college athletes, even though some collegiate athletes have the same skill level as professionals in their sport what sets them both apart from being professional and non-professional is simple, getting paid.

Although collegiate athletes aren’t receiving money for their services at the school, some still receive better benefits than the typical student. This story is going to give the reader and in-depth look at what its like on both sides of the spectrum of athletes on and off scholarships and the adversity they must face.

Both Junior cornerback Tae Hayes and Junior offensive line Aidan Nesvisky know what it takes to be on the 3x bowl champion App State football team, they both have proven to their peers they have what it takes to wear the Black and Gold. One thing sets these two young men apart though, and that is a scholarship.

Tae Hayes is on full athletic scholarship while Nesvisky is still paying out of pocket to attend Appalachian State and play football. “It can be difficult to stay up to standards with the coaching staff and team throughout the year, especially since I’m not on any type of scholarship” said Nesvisky.

While some athletes may be more important to their team then others, when both Hayes and Nesvisky were asked if there was any diversity or tension between walk-ons and scholarships, both gave very similar up-rising answers. “there isn’t any type of favoritism or advantages that one player receives over others, everyone is treated equal on and off the field, the only extra perks that scholarship athletes get over walk-ons is free housing and meal plan money” stated Nesvisky.

Hayes response was very similar “Everyone gets a fair shot to play, if you are making plays on the football field you will earn a chance to play. Favoritism is obviously showed to the best players. I mean when you have certain players that are doing a little extra for you and being a big factor that helps your team win you show them more love than someone not playing as much, that's how the game goes.

When asked if there was any type of divide between scholarship and walk-on athletes, Hayes quickly stated “If you were to come to a practice you probably wouldn't be able to notice any separation”. While Nesvisky summed it up by saying “Nah, there isn’t any divide because we already must spend so much time together, nobody really treats anybody different based on skill level."

Both made it clear that the only way you could tell the difference in a scholarship and walk-on athlete is if you asked them, not by the way they are treated or the attention they receive from the coaching staff at practice.

Both walk-ons and scholarship athletes are compliments of each other, without one the other is weak. The sacrifices that walk-ons face to help better than team everyday while receiving little to no recognition is enormous, and without the scholarship players, the whole program wouldn’t be successful.

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