Haudenosaunee sports group begins sponsorship program for student athletes

Two men in lacrosse equipment competing for a loose ball. One player in white, other player in green.
The Haudenosaunee Sports Development Group are looking to help student athletes navigate colleges and universities at the NCAA and NCJAA level. Photo courtesy of Keith Johnston from Pixabay.
Andrew Dow - CJKS - OhswekenON | 13-01-2023
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The Haudenosaunee Sports Development Group (HSDG) is launching a sponsorship program that will help with financial support and provide student athletes opportunities to profit off of their name, image and likeness (NIL) professionally.

Eligible applicants need to prove their Haudenosaunee lineage and need to be enrolled in an eligible post-secondary program of study in NCAA Division I, II, III or NJCAA or, in some cases, even preparatory schools.

HSDG member Carmen Thomas said the group saw a need for an organization like theirs to support local Six Nation's athletes. HSDG held a community engagement session in February 2022 and Thomas spoke on the feedback the group heard.

"With sports, there's added expenses that go along with that as well. A lot of students that are residing down in the United States, they have additional out of pocket costs that they had to incur. So that was where we saw the need to sort of kickstart this," he said.

Cody Jamieson, professional lacrosse player and member of the HSDG, and spoke on his experiences as a student athlete and his goal for the sponsorship program.

"You don't know all the nuances of going to school, and being away from home and all the different things you have to look at and look out for. So we just want to be mentorship program helping our community members, but also all Haudenosaunee people who are looking to take that route," Jamieson said.

The group hopes to act as a sounding board for prospective athletes and to inspire youth to see the career as a possible dream, Jamieson said, adding that the sponsorship program will help encourage students to finish their post secondary education career.

"There's a lot of incurring costs that you can't take into account, you don't know it's going to happen until it's there. So I think its definitely going to help in the process of taking one less thing off of their list of things to do. Sometimes it's a burden not knowing if you're going to eat that day because you have to buy books, supplies, gas money. There's a lot of things that you may have to sacrifice."

"I know this, it's not going to be enough to cover everything and full scholarships aren't enough to cover everything, so we're just looking to help in their process, to be a guiding hand and to help out anyway that we possibly can," he continued.

HSDG announced the launch of the NIL sponsorship program in December 2022. The first application round came to an end on Jan. 6. The group has said that a second round of applications will follow depending on the availability of funds. The group will offer $100,000 to it's first class of recipients, each of which will receive a maximum of $5,000.

Thomas said that the group has received several dozens of applications so far and are in the midst of reviewing them. The number of applicants chosen will be based on availability of funds. He added that the group is accepting financial help from community members who would like to support the students.

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