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UND to kick off new plan

UND soon will unveil a fundraising campaign that it hopes will change the financial model of athletics. The Alumni Association and Foundation will be pushing businesses and individuals to support new "Impact Scholarships," which require a donatio...

UND soon will unveil a fundraising campaign that it hopes will change the financial model of athletics.

The Alumni Association and Foundation will be pushing businesses and individuals to support new "Impact Scholarships," which require a donation of $15,000 per year for five years.

The goal is to have as many athletic scholarships privately funded as possible as UND enters the period of transition to NCAA Division I.

"It's going to be a big challenge, but if we can do this, it will set us apart," said Dan Martinsen, a former Sioux football player who was hired as a special assistant to the president for the Division I transition. "If we can get our athletic scholarships privately funded in five or six years, it will put us in a pretty exclusive group. We will have financial freedom to provide money for facilities, to upgrade salaries and to help with operations."

UND wants to make the donations more personal.

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Supporters can designate their scholarships to a specific sport, for instance. They can even break it down to a certain position of a specific sport.

"If a couple of former Sioux quarterbacks get together and decide they want to make a scholarship for a quarterback, they can do that," said DeAnna Carlson, the chief development officer of the Alumni Association and Foundation. "If you want to make a scholarship for running backs, that's fine, too.

"It's very personal for those giving the scholarship. We also will provide the student with the name of the person who is funding their scholarship, so they can have that connection, too."

The plan will be formally introduced in August, Martinsen said. But UND already has started pushing the plan to local businesses, individuals and former letterwinners.

Martinsen said the idea is unique, and he hopes it can answer some questions about the transition.

"The big question for D-I is about where the money is going to come from," Martinsen said. "Instead of the same old tired stuff, we're looking at a new way to raise money. And what's the best way to get people excited about contributing? I think people like knowing that they are helping out a young person.

"We want to make this personal. I think it is more meaningful that way."

Reach Schlossman at 780-1129, (800) 477-6572 ext. 129 or bschlossman@gfherald.com .

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