College Student Gives His Full Football Scholarship to Friend

Now his teammate won’t have to struggle to continue his education.

Aug 25, 2023
College Student Gives His Full Football Scholarship to Friend | Now his teammate won’t have to struggle to continue his education.

Part of playing a university team sport is building relationships between the participants. Many players will go the extra mile to help a buddy out. But how many students would give up a full-ride scholarship to help a teammate continue his education?

Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti student Brian Dooley, who is two classes short of his advanced degree, gave up his scholarship at the beginning of August, 2023 to allow a hardworking teammate to continue his education, according to People Magazine.

Introducing Zach Conti
Zach Conti, who joined the EMU football team as a walk-on in 2019 has worked at several odd jobs during his time at EMU. He even sold his blood plasma to pay for his education. Now he won’t have too anymore.

“Football is something I really love, so ever since I got to school, I've had to do whatever it takes to stay here and stay in a good position with academics and football and everything," Conti said in a video shared by the university.

“So I work a landscaping job and I rip out carpets and I demo tile floors whenever I'm not working or not doing football or going to school. It's been a grind my whole life but, I mean, when you really want something, it's like you do what you need to do to keep it going.”

While Conti’s teammates would see him going to or coming back to work and they were very supportive, reported CBS News. But Conti was struggling with paying for his education and with his mother’s kidney disease. He was planning on leaving the college but his teammate had other plans.

The gift
Dooley couldn’t see that happen and came up with a plan to help his teammate. That’s when he approached head coach Chris Creighton.

Creighton approached the university to see if an additional scholarship could be given out. The NCAA league allows the team to give out 85 scholarships and another one was not allowed. Then Dooley approached the coach with a special request.

“Brian Dooley comes into my office,” Creighton said during a team meeting on August 3. The meeting was released on the video above that went viral after its release.

“And he says, ‘Coach, that guy has earned it. And I've talked this over with my family. And if there's a way to make this happen, I am willing to give up my scholarship as a gift to Zack Conti.’ I've never heard, I've never seen anything like that ever before.”

That’s when Dooley walked over to Conti and handed him an envelope with the gifted scholarship inside. The teammates were seen hugging on the video while the rest of the team cheered.

Conti said he knew that the coach and his teammate were working to get him a scholarship but he wasn’t expecting to be given one at the meeting.

Dooley explained his motivation for helping his teammate: “I did it because I've seen Conti grow over the years. Seeing him walk away from something that he loves did not sit well with me. He works hard and gets extra work with me all the time. In my eyes, he earned it 100 percent.

“Giving up my scholarship so he can stay and play means everything. I'm proud of what he has become and cannot wait to see what he does on the field.”

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.