(Photo Courtesy: Wilmington University Athletics)Brittany Biddle would tell you the NCAA does, in fact, have a heart.
The organization which coordinates most of college sports gets as much attention for denying student-athletes eligibility, what foods schools can serve them at what times, and if an injury could someone's athletic career, as anything good.
Enter Biddle, a standout volleyball player for Wilmington University who wrapped up her athletic ability last fall, leading the Wildcats to a 2nd straight CACC regular-season volleyball title.
The former Concord Raider finished second in school history in blocks, but is even more impressive in the classroom.
Brittany sports a 4.0 GPA, but still found herself credit short of graduating in her major of Elementary Education, where she aspires to be a special education teacher. She was named the conference's Student-Athlete of the Month last November.
This is where the NCAA steps in with the Division II Degree Completion Scholarship. Brittany applied for, and became the second Wilmington University athlete to receive, the money which defrays the added costs when athletic aid comes to an end after your senior season.
"For me, it was kind of like, 'oh crud, what do I do now?", Brittany tells WDEL. "Knowing that the NCAA is still supporting and backing me and helping me take this financial burden off is really just a feeling of relief. It lets me focus on my degree, and focus on my classwork."
Brittany is currently preparing to student teach in the Brandywine School District this fall, and says she was inspired towards that career after mentoring a fellow Concord student named Phil when she was still in high school.
"I was so nervous. He turns to me one day and says 'I think I want to read aloud," and I said 'Alright Phil, go ahead!" So he reads aloud and the tears start streaming because I was somebody that instilled that confidence in him, just like my teachers did in me."
Brittany is one of 81 Division II athletes to receive the extra money directly from the NCAA this year, in a program which has aided 1,000 students and distributed nearly $4 million since its inception in 2001.
For students like Phil, that small piece of the $10.8 billion the NCAA receives from the current Men's Basketball Tournament contract appears to be going to the right place.
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