Walk-on athletes don’t receive athletic scholarships to play for their universities, but there are still athletes at Emporia State who joined their respective teams by reaching out themselves and working hard enough to continue competing at a collegiate level.
Macy Smith, a freshman majoring in computer sciences, is a walk-on basketball player for the Lady Hornets. She doesn’t have financial support from the basketball team, but she does have academic scholarships that help her.
Smith said that she doesn’t struggle too much to pay bills because of the help she has, but she does understand that it could be hard for student athletes to work, attend school and have commitments to their sports.
While the typical recruitment process typically features a coach reaching out to athletes, walk-ons have to take a different approach.
“I went in and I asked them if they had a spot for me,” Smith said. “I grew up from around here, so I always wanted to play here.”
They told her yes, but they didn’t have the money and she didn’t mind.
Smith said that she loves the sport and being a walk-on means that she has to prove everyday not only that she belongs on the team, but that she deserves a scholarship.
“That’s one thing about being a walk-on is that you prove yourself every day, and you just keep working for it. Not just to prove yourself that, you are good enough to be on the team, but good enough to get that scholarship.”
Smith is from Olpe and has played basketball her whole life. Her dad was even her coach for a while. She was on a cross country visit when she came to ESU the first time and took the opportunity to meet the coaches. They discussed having her dual sport, but she felt her heart pull towards basketball.