Michigan Blind Athletic Association
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MBAA "Pay to Play" scholarships are now available!

On-line registration link:  MBAA Pay to Play Scholarship Application Form

Pay to Play scholarships are now available via the MBAA.  This initiative was largely the brain-child of Mouad Yousef.  Based on his idea, a generous donation from the Ann Arbor Track Club and the work of Tom Gardner and Hal Wolfe to complete the on-line registration form, the program is taking shape.  There is currently a limited amount of money available that is intended to be used for Jr. High and High School age athletes who want to participate in a school team or a local club sport, but who need to pay money up front to participate.  If those up front costs would discourage participation, then a Pay to Play scholarship should be considered, as they are intended to encourage participation in local sports teams and remove the financial burden on the family that might prevent an aspiring young visually impaired athlete from joining a team or club.  If this case applies to you - please consider applying!

Scholarship Donors to date:
MBAA volunteer Kevin Kimbrough and the Ann Arbor Track Club.

Here are the answers to a number of common questions pertaining to this program:

Who can apply:
Any visually impaired junior high or high school age athlete living in the state of Michigan or who lives out of state but has attended the MBAA's annual sports camp in Kalamazoo.

Application deadlines:
Scholarship applications are due to be completed before the stipulated deadlines to insure that proper consideration will be made for the student applying.  The deadlines are:
Fall sports:  July 15
Winter sports:  October 15
Spring sports:  March 15
Summer (club) sports: May 1st

What if I apply late?
If you miss a deadline, you can still apply, but it is up to you to notify the application corodinator (listed below) to ensure that your application is noted and given consideration.  If funding has already been approved for other athletes who applied before the deadline, a late application might be subject to a lower amounts of funds being available.

What if the deadline listed above is too late for my particular team?
If there is some team that needs payment before the applicable deadline for any reason, such an application will certainly be considered, but again, it is up to you to notify the application coordinator to indicate the special timing requirements.

What is covered?
Any fee that is associated with joining or belonging to a sports team (either school or club) can potentially be covered by this funding.  Up-front fees for equipment costs, or equipment that participates must furnish themselves would both apply.  (Equipment such as special pads or shoes or other that is needed if they are not furnished by the team.)  Sometimes there are also fees as the year goes along for transportation, meals etc.  Those can also be considered if they can be reasonably well known ahead of time.

How do I apply?
To apply, you simply need to fill out the on-line registration form at this link: 
MBAA Pay to Play Scholarship Application Form

After you fill out the form, it would be a good idea to contact one of the scholarship administrators (see list below) to let them know you filled out a form, especially if there is an imminent deadline approaching.  We will check the website periodically to look for submissions, but we don't want to miss the chance to help someone if there is a deadline we don't know about and don't happen to review the application in time to meet that deadline.  Point being - be proactive and let one of us know!

How often can I apply?

You can apply as often as is appropriate, but at the moment we intend to limit scholarships to one per year for any given applicant.  This may change down the road depending on funds available vs funds requested.


Can I re-apply?

Yes, whether you were or were not selected for a scholarship in a given school year, you can re-apply again in a future year.  If you applied for a scholarship that was not granted, you could apply for another scholarship that same year, as well as apply for the same sport that was not accepted in a future year.  (The ability to grant scholarships in a future year will be dependent on getting continuing grant money.  Although we feel it is likely that we will have funding available in the foreseeable future, obviously the flow of money in the future is never 100% certain.)

How are selections made?
Selections will be made on a case by case basis, and discussed by the scholarship administrators.  An evaluation of the athlete applying (desire, ability, age, etc) and the need situation will be made, as well as considerations for the type of sport and the ability of the person applying to grow from their participation, and to some degree to the ability of the athlete to contribute to the team.  Consideration will also be made for whether or not the applicant has attended an MBAA Sports Education Camp in the past.  Of note - there are no hard and fast rules here, so don't let any of this info discourage you.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of the scholarship administrators via e-mail.  (see list below)

Are there limitations?
The amount of money available to any one person for a given team / sport will likely be limited to a maximum of up to $200, but this limit is yet to be tested by the needs of athletes for various sports, so we may be adjusting this as time goes by.  If you have a definite need for some amount greater than this, please let us know, and consideration can be made for such a need.  Obviously, due to the availability of funds and the number of people that apply for the scholarships, funding limits may need to be adjusted downward or possibly even upward.  Again, this remains to be seen.

What if I get a scholarship, but later get cut from or quit the team?
Obviously this is a situation we hope does not happen.  If it does, we expect any unspent money to be returned.  We would also expect some follow up to be made outlining the conditions that the participation with the team were terminated.  (That will be especially important if any future MBAA scholarship is applied for.)  If money was spent on personal equipment (running shoes for example) then such equipment will likely be kept by the athlete and hopefully be used again in the future.  If money was spent on more generic equipment (hockey pads for example) then we would expect that equipment to be returned or sold if possible, with a refund to the extent possible then made to the MBAA.  Again, this type of thing will need to be handled on a case by case basis.

How will the money be paid out?
This will depend on the needs of the program - if it is money to a school system for up front costs to join a team, a check will be sent to them directly.  If the money is needed to cover personal transportation costs, then a check will most likely be sent to the athlete's family.  Each case will be evaluated and the appropriate means will be taken.

How will I be notified?
You will be notified by one of the scholarship administrators. Most likely you will be notified both via e-mail and with a phone call.  At the moment the administrators are: Mo Yousef, Scott & Leanne Ford.  (Scott is currently an MBAA board member.)

Mo Yousef: mykhanjar@gmail.com
Leanne Ford: blindrehab2007@yahoo.com
Scott Ford: scotte.ford@gmail.com (< application coordinator)