Hometown Athletics launched last year to connect student-athletes with kids for coaching and training in Westchester County, but was forced to temporarily shut down due to the controversial NCAA rules regarding student-athletes’ ability to earn money. On June 30, the NCAA approved a policy that would allow college athletes to make money from their name, age and likeness, allowing Hometown Athletics to reopen.
Co-owner Ben Hurd said he was “incredibly excited and proud” that the regulations were lifted, describing them as “archaic and exploitative.”
Hurd graduated from Pelham Memorial High School in 2017 and Brown University in 2021.
“We had started Hometown Athletics last year and were inspired by how many meaningful connections our Pelham and Rye coaches made with rising student athletes in the area within just two months,” Hurd said.
After matching kids with the college athletes in the area, the company determines the best training regimen for the student as well as the ideal schedule, rate and location, according to Hometown Athletics’ website.
“College athletes work so hard to get where they are and not getting any benefits from their sport makes no sense,” said intern Frankie Cipriano. “Student athletes should definitely be able to make money off their name and brand and can now do so.”
Hometown Athletics is hopeful that the new regulations will continue to empower student athletes. “We’re excited to see what this new market of opportunities has in store for both student-athletes and their communities,” Hurd said.
With the NCAA change, Hometown Athletics plans to build and strengthen the community aspect of their platform. “The recent NCAA regulation changes really open up a lot of channels within which college-athletes can give back and help out in their communities,” Hurd said. “By building out and expanding on our platform, we hope to facilitate community connections within Pelham as well as other towns and communities across the country.”
Hurd said it was especially encouraging to see coaches give back to the Westchester community in a sincere way, as well as helping young athletes succeed around the county.
Hometown Athletics plans to improve its user interface, build easier ways to connect and schedule sessions with coaches and allow coaches to open sessions and camps. In the long term, the company wants to continue expanding to other towns while still maintaining close-knit community connections.