The season of giving may still be a month away, but it hasn’t stopped the Utah Jazz from celebrating early.
Announced Wednesday morning, Utah will be continuing its Utah Jazz Scholars Program, giving away four-year scholarships for every victory achieved throughout the 2021-22 season, including the postseason.
“We believe strongly in the power of education to change lives,” said Ryan and Ashley Smith, owners of the Utah Jazz. “The Utah Jazz Scholars Program reflects our desire to help students from underrepresented groups who have historically received fewer resources and less support. It’s amazing to think about the fact that for every win the Jazz have this season, a student will get to go to college who would not otherwise have had the opportunity.”
To date, Utah is providing students with 61 scholarships that cover up to the total cost of attendance—including tuition, books, fees, and room and board. The previous recipients are attending college at either Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Utah State University, or Weber State University.
As of right now, the Jazz have given out 30 scholarships to students who began college in the fall of 2021. The next group of scholarships will be for students starting college in the fall of 2022, with that application process opening up on Nov. 15.
“When I heard about the Utah Jazz scholarship, I was so excited that an organization like the Jazz was using their money and resources to help underrepresented minorities have a chance to go to college,” said Sade Miller, a scholarship recipient who started at Southern Utah University in the fall. “I’m honored that I’m in the first group of Jazz scholars, and I’m excited for the next round of scholarships and for the lives that are going to be changed by this. Ryan and Ashley Smith are amazing and generous people and everyone who has helped us within the Jazz organization have been incredible to work with.”
Last season, Utah won a total of 61 combined games. They won three games in the preseason, went an NBA best 52-20 during the regular season, and followed that up with six more victories in the postseason.
As the league returns to an original 82-game schedule this year, it provides the Jazz with more opportunities to secure scholarships for those applying. Armed with more depth after a season of positive offseason moves, Utah has a good chance to surpass last years total by the time the regular season ends—already with two victories in the preseason.
“We are super excited to keep winning here on the court so scholarships can be awarded to more amazing young people,” said Utah guard Joe Ingles.
The Utah Jazz Scholars Program is much more than giving students a free education in college.
In addition to the financial investment made in the students, they will also be given opportunities to succeed outside the classroom. They will be afforded the chance for mentorships, job shadowing, and internships between the Jazz organization and other Utah business communities.
“There are a lot of opportunities opening up for me because of this scholarship, and I’m very grateful,” Miller said. “I’m enjoying my time here at SUU and am excited to work towards the future and the possibilities that are before me. It inspires me to want to work hard, give back, and to look out for others who need a little extra help and kindness.”
To be eligible for the scholarship, recipients must abide by the following criteria:· Graduate of a Utah high school· Person from an underrepresented group· Demonstrated financial need· Preference for first-generation college students· Incoming freshman enrolling as a full-time student for the 2022-23 school year· Admission to one of the six listed Utah universities: Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Utah State University, Weber State University