Updated: Feb 17
Uncommon Sports Group has the pleasure of providing $15,000 to $20,000 in total funding to thirteen young professionals in the sport industry each semester. These funds allow young professionals to pay off student loans or tuition as they kickstart their careers in the industry.
This past semester, we awarded Alexis Conaway with $5,000 in funding as our first-place winner and Taylor Jackson with $3,000 in funding as our second-place winner. In this blog, Alexis and Taylor share the impact that the scholarship had on their journey through the sport industry.
Alexis Conaway, Graduate Assistant Director of Volleyball Operations at LSU
"The USG scholarship was truly an answer to prayer. Last fall, I began working as a graduate assistant in college athletics. It was clearly an invitation from God, but it was not the ‘financially sound’ option. As the semester progressed, I watched my savings slowly dwindle away. I trusted the Lord’s call to the position. I believed He would provide. But as I looked ahead to the spring, I had no idea how it would happen.
Did I need to get a second job? Donate plasma? Adding one more item to my already full plate felt daunting and exhausting. When I heard USG offered scholarships, it almost seemed too good to be true. I went through the application process, which in itself was a huge blessing. It provided an opportunity to reflect on my role and the joy of using it for Kingdom purposes.
A few weeks later, I found out I was selected as one of the recipients. I immediately felt the tears fall down my face. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and sheer shock at receiving such a generous gift. A weight lifted off my shoulders, and I walked freely into another semester, knowing my needs were taken care of yet again. God provided just as He promised. And not just sparingly but abundantly.
The scholarship enabled me to focus my time and energy on growing and serving in my current role. It gave me a greater capacity for work and school and sharing Jesus with the people I meet along the way. Perhaps most important of all, it increased my confidence to keep saying yes to whatever God calls me to, and for that, I am forever grateful."
Taylor Jackson, Assistant Coach with the Greenville Drive Minor League Baseball Club
"I was fortunate enough in the Fall of 2022 to receive a scholarship from USG. God blessed me tremendously through this. I found myself in between jobs, having just completed an internship with the Greenville Drive baseball team and offered a coaching position for the 2023 season.
So, I had about five months lined up with no income and student debt looming in the back of my head. I have always felt the need to constantly work. I guess, in a sense, I don’t want to not “do my part.” In many ways, this has led to me trying to rely on myself rather than trusting God (and only fooling myself in the process). I took a seasonal job for five weeks, working 6-7 days each week. I planned to work myself to complete exhaustion and then crash after that—not a good idea.
I was then approached to oversee the Upward basketball ministry at my local church. I wrestled with this for weeks. I felt the need to say yes—to not disappoint those at the church and to not say no to an opportunity to make some extra money and “provide.” But, something just didn’t sit right; I believe it was the Lord not giving me peace about the decision. It was difficult, but I turned the opportunity down and chose not to work for the remaining offseason, feeling the need to slow down and trusting God would provide financially.
Soon after, I got the news that I had received one of the USG scholarships. I truly believe God was reminding me of His goodness at this moment and that I can trust Him fully. I think this was a blessing in response to me saying “no” to constantly doing.
I tend to shy away from God’s blessings, feeling more comfortable in the suffering. But God is teaching me that I can enjoy His blessings just as much as embracing the sufferings of following Jesus. He is faithful, and His blessings are good. And, even if I hadn’t won a scholarship, He would still be good—He always is."
We are so grateful that God used the Reflection Scholarship to impact Alexis and Taylor as they continue striving to be Christ-centered leaders within the college and pro sport industry.
Are you in need of financial aid as you work towards a career in the sport industry? Apply now for our Spring 2023 Reflection Scholarship. We are accepting applications until April 29th, 2023.
As always, we'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to connect with USG, contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.