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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
At Temple, enthusiasm has grown for the football program, which is coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons.
Temple University has a new spin on fundraising that is something right out of NASCAR: A $50,000 donation will allow donors to sponsor one of nine Owls football player numbers this season.
The program, called "The 9," is "considered to be the highest honor an Owl can earn," according to a news release issued this week by the school. Other "exclusive benefits" include travel on the team plane to one away game, a custom jersey and "interaction with your assigned student-athlete throughout the year."
Granted, the player who wears the sponsored number is barred under the NCAA's amateurism rules from receiving any of the $50,000 directly, though the school notes that the tax-deductible donations will benefit academic and career resources, nutrition programs for student-athletes and facility upgrades, among other things.
"This program is made for the 'Best of the Best' of Temple Owl fans," Temple deputy director of athletics Craig Angelos said in a statement. "As our single-digit numbers are earned and limited to our top players, this is limited to our top supporters."
Numbers 1-3 have already been assigned to donors, including Linda and Pat Marion.
"For us to have the single digit and the player to be attached to is a really cool thing for us," Linda Marion said in a video promoting The 9.
"The games become personal when you are more invested in a single player who you know and they become part of your family."
The school said the remaining numbers (4-9) will be assigned before the season starts.
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