Playing Professional Sports and Pursuing a Degree Are Compatible, Thanks to the Pirlo Kufstein Towers Basketball Scholarship
Basketball in Austria is continuing to evolve, with media coverage and club budgets on the rise, making a professional career attractive for more and more players. However, such a decision should not come at the expense of planning for the time after an active career as a professional athlete. Rather, young basketball players should plan for a sustainable second career that will provide job security for the rest of their lives. For this reason, the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol offers an attractive scholarship in cooperation with the local basketball team, which is open to students of all 24 degree programs. Scholarship recipients get the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree at the university while at the same time playing professionally for the Pirlo Kufstein Towers in Austria’s national basketball league.
Combining competitive sports with a university education
Combining competitive sport and university studies is no mean feat. It requires good time management, ambition, and considerable discipline, qualities that have been instilled in basketball players by their sport. To make all of this possible financially, the Pirlo Kufstein Towers scholarship includes reimbursement of the semester’s tuition fee, reimbursement of housing costs for the players’ shared accommodation in Kufstein, covers insurance for professional sports including first-rate medical care, as well as free access to the gym and a meal allowance. In return, the scholarship recipients commit to being available to play in the weekend games during the season from November to April, attend basketball training four times a week, and complete regular training sessions in the gym. The most important requirement is, of course, that applicants are active students at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein, where they have to spend at least one academic year to be eligible.
A perfect combination
For Florian Köppl, 28 years old and master’s student in Sports, Culture & Event Management, this is his first season with the Pirlo Kufstein Towers: “For me, this combination of professional basketball and pursuing a degree at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol is the perfect mix and I am delighted to have been given this opportunity. I’m looking forward to at least two great years in Kufstein filled with many sporting highlights and the opportunities that my studies will afford me.” His teammate Jakub Hussain already played for the Towers last season and will benefit from the scholarship for another semester: “Although I come from Lower Austria, which offers many options to pursue a higher education and also has some basketball teams in the higher leagues, it was clear to me that I wanted to take advantage of this unique opportunity in Kufstein. This seamless combination of university studies and competitive basketball is unparalleled in Austria, and I am very grateful to have received this highly competitive award allowing me to concentrate fully on both of my priorities. This motivates me all the more to excel in both areas.”
How to secure a scholarship for 2024
The application process for acceptance into a degree program at the university is independent of the application process for the scholarship. Both these hurdles must be overcome in a sporting manner. The application for the scholarship includes a letter of motivation and a short video demonstrating the applicant’s sporting abilities. The Pirlo Kufstein Towers then selects a shortlist and ultimately awards the scholarship. Prospective students interested in the scholarship can already secure a place at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol for the academic year starting in the fall of 2024. The initial online application is currently open for all bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Applicants who register by December 3, 2023, will receive the opportunity to secure a place in their chosen program in admissions interviews on December 12, 2023.