Campus News

UK Athletics Provides More Scholarship Funding

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 30, 2009) − The University of Kentucky Athletics Department will provide funding for scholarships to aid students from the Appalachian counties of Kentucky. UK Athletics Deputy Director Rob Mullens made the announcement today along with UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., Provost Kumble Subbaswamy, Kentucky Sen. Robert Stivers, and Kentucky Rep. Rocky Adkins. 

Mullens said the recent media contract between ESPN and the Southeastern Conference schools is allowing UK Athletics to commit $500,000 a year for these scholarships through the term of the 15 year contract. This brings Athletics’ annual support for non-athletic scholarships to $1.7 million. Part of the funding will support the current Robinson Scholars Program (RSP), which serves first generation college-bound and college students from 29 Eastern Kentucky counties. The remainder of the funding will establish a other scholarships that will also serve Kentucky students from the Appalachian area. 

"I'm pleased UK Athletics is in a position to make this commitment," Mullens said. "Athletics programs must be competitive and generate fan support and loyalty. We can capitalize on that loyalty for student recruitment, and there are no more loyal Wildcat fans than those in the Appalachian area of our state."

Todd expressed his pleasure with the designation of athletic dollars to be used for academic scholarships, stating, "I am proud to say that under the leadership of our athletic director, Mitch Barnhart, UK Athletics has become a national leader in leveraging our athletic excellence to support our academic side of campus."

Todd also said he was happy the money could be used to recruit and support outstanding students from Eastern Kentucky as the RSP has done since 1997.

"When you talk about winning programs, you’re talking about Robinson Scholars," Todd said. "They add value in so many ways to our state, their region and this university."

Sen. Robert Stivers, who represents District 25, echoed his gratitude for this increased support for students from the Appalachian region. Stivers, Rep. Rocky Adkins, and other legislators led the effort last year to provide $1 million each year in state funding to the Robinson Scholars Program.


Adkins, who represents the 99th House District, stated, “The people of Eastern Kentucky certainly bleed blue and this type of commitment from the athletics department just solidifies the partnership. It is so important to create new opportunities for the students in our area to attend college, this helps that effort.”

In addition to the scholarship announcement, Jeff Spradling was introduced as the new director of the Robinson Scholars Program. Spradling comes to the RSP after serving the last four years as research administrative coordinator for the UK Center for Poverty Research, and prior to that, he was assistant director of the Appalachian Center at UK. Spradling's career has also included work in journalism and marketing as well as being an English instructor. He holds bachelor’s and master's degrees from Morehead State University.