Blue Feather Athletic Association to complete athletic scholarship fundraising next month

It costs more than $18,000 for an out-of-state Dickinson State University student athlete annually to spend on their education and sport which includes tuition, room, board, equipment, uniforms, team travel and training.

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It costs more than $18,000 for an out-of-state Dickinson State University student athlete annually to spend on their education and sport which includes tuition, room, board, equipment, uniforms, team travel and training.

The DSU Heritage Foundation started a new program designed specifically for people to give to student athletes to alleviate those costs.

"Previously the Blue Hawks Booster Club was responsible for raising all dollars associated with athletic scholarships, we partnered with them, and the Blue Hawk Touchdown Club, and we started the Blue Feather Athletic Association," said Ty Orton, executive officer for the DSU Heritage Foundation.

While Orton said both organizations will still exist, the BFAA will take some of the pressure off of the grounds to raise all of the money for scholarships.

More than $400,000 dollars will be raised for nearly 300 student athletes in 13 NAIA sports.


"The Blue Hawks Booster Club and the Touchdown Club still exist but now they don't have to spend all of that time raising money constantly. Now they can have events and really focus on having one or two events and really make those events a special situation for everyone," he said.

The boosters club is still a major contributor of the athletic scholarships.

"(The Booster Club) is a group of individuals who have done so much for this university," said Orton. "They have helped this athletic program out for years. They really were the main source of athletic scholarships here at the university. They should be commended for that."

He said now the booster club and the touchdown club can focus on what they enjoy.

"We saw a lot of volunteers on both organizations that were spending a lot of time trying to raise scholarship dollars," he continued. "We wanted to try to take that off of those organizations, so they could focus on the sports that they love. They can focus on the athletic program instead of trying to have a dollar amount held over their head."

The BFAA, unlike previous athletic fundraising, gives donors the ability to donate to an individual sports program.

"It's different this year than it has been in the past because in previous years (a donor) would give $100, and that would be split according to sports," said Orton. "Now an individual who might not have given before because they were a softball player can give to softball because that is their love, and that's what they played in college, or they had a sibling who played and that's what they want to support."

Jen Hartman, DSU head volleyball coach, said that athletic scholarships are more than just allowing students the ability to come to DSU to play their designated sport.


"You're not just donating your dollars to an athlete, you are donating to change someone's life," she said. "That means not only the world to them, but also to us."

Hartman said it's the fans that support the volleyball team not only by attending the game but by supporting financially that makes them successful.
"I think it shows, too, the strength in the community that we are because it's the people in the stands and the people at the games that makes us so great," she said. "It means a lot to have that kind of support surrounding you."

DSU Athlete Dylan Skabo noted the importance of having athletic scholarships from an athlete's point of view.

"It's a reward for all the hard work that student athletes put in," Skabo said. "It helps with paying for school and other expenses because a lot of student athletes do not have the time to get full-time jobs during their sport season."

Donations can be made online at or by filling out a pledge card and returning it to the DSU Heritage Foundation.

The fundraising campaign to reach $400,000 will end on Dec. 31.

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