Rowe article photo

Sophomore pitcher, Matt Russell looks to add another strike to his stats against Oral Roberts in spring 2020.

Missouri State is receiving help from former Athletic Director Bill Rowe starting this season that will allow the baseball program to provide additional financial aid for its players — a new addition to the program.

Rowe was the head coach for the first 19 years of Missouri State baseball history and wanted to give back to the program he helped build. His donation is an endowment to the Missouri State Foundation that will fund the annual stipends allowed to NCAA student-athletes.

This was a rule passed by the NCAA about five years ago that allows athletes to have money for the cost of attendance that is not included in what a scholarship offers.

Rowe said in an interview on SportsTalk with Art Hains this stipend will help level the playing field for Missouri State in competing with the bigger schools in the Midwest.

“If we are recruiting against a school that is offering tuition plus the cost of attendance and we aren’t doing that, we are going to get left behind in a cloud of dust,” Rowe said.

Before this donation, the only sports programs at Missouri State that were funded by stipends were the men’s and women’s basketball programs, per Missouri Valley Conference requirement. The funding for this comes from the university budget. Missouri State has not been able to afford stipends for any of the programs the MVC does not require them to.

Rowe said he knew he was going to donate to the baseball program, but he figured now is the right time.

“I wanted to do it sooner rather than later,” Rowe said. “I wanted to be able to see the benefit this could do for our program.”

This donation came as no surprise to head coach Keith Guttin. He said this is the type of person Rowe is.

“I know his love for the university and the baseball program,” Guttin said. “It was very generous of him and his wife to (donate), and that gift will help Missouri State baseball going forward in a great way.”

This gift will not only help the program’s ability to succeed, but it will help take pressure off the program’s student athletes off the field.

“Most of these guys are on half or fourth (scholarships) with only 11.7 scholarships being available for the sport of baseball,” Rowe said. This donation allows financial freedom to the baseball players that do not get the same financial help that some of the other sports’ athletes receive.

The funding for these stipends will go into effect for this season and will help the baseball program in the coming years.

 

Follow Trevor Hahn on Twitter, @TrevHahn3

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