John Hartwell, Director of Athletics at Troy University, provided more information about the Troy Affinity Program or TAP, which allows students to earn a certain amount of points for attending athletic events. When certain point values are reached, the points can be exchanged for prizes.
“Our whole premise for starting (the program) is to help increase student participation at all of our sporting events,” Hartwell said. “It’s something to get students engaged and excited about our athletic programs, which gives students an opportunity to win anything from visors to t-shirts, all the way up to tuition for a full semester.”
This is the program’s second year at Troy University.
Last year’s grand-prize winner, Yingnan Tao, a senior general business major from China, believes the program will help increase student involvement at sporting events.
Tao said that the program helped him experience new sports. “I never saw football, baseball or softball games even on TV before I came to the US,” Tao said. “Now, I know the basic rules of them, at least. I saw all the sports because I’ve been in Troy since 2011 and I play intramurals like flag football and baseball.”
Tao was awarded a tuition prize valued around $10,000, which he used to take 18 hours this semester. Tao said the program was “the easiest way to make money in the world.”
In addition to his tuition prize, Tao received a Troy Athletics T-Shirt and several gifts for attending the volleyball and basketball games.
TAP applies to all sporting events and students receive different points for different events. Basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball are worth 2 points. Football, soccer and tennis are worth 3.
“A lot of people go to football games, ” Hartwell said. “That’s obviously a big deal. But we want students to be just as excited about soccer or volleyball too. So, in some cases, for those Olympic sports, we actually award more points than we would for football or men’s basketball.”
Hartwell says that he has noticed an increase in student participation and that the program has thus far been successful. “It’s hard to tell at a football game whether you’ve got 2800 or 3100 students there, but at a volleyball or soccer match when you see the number of students that came to those (events) last year – you can definitely tell a difference.”