In 1999, the German University Sports Federation (Allgemeiner Deutscher Hochschulsportverband, adh) and various partners initiated the partner university of top-level sports project (“Partnerhochschule des Spitzensports”) to help elite athletes to reconcile their studies and sports career. The cooperation agreement intends to implement concrete measures supporting elite student athletes with the particular challenges they face. There are 191 universities all over Germany that have joined the cooperation so far.
The cooperation agreement encompasses measures that are intended to prevent student athletes from being put at a disadvantage. Those disadvantages may occur before enrolling in a degree program, during their studies or when transitioning to a professional career. This is all the more important since student athletes play an important role in German high-performance sports. In the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, for example, 36% of the German athletic team was made up of student athletes. Of the 42 medals that Germany won, 18 (among them eight gold medals) were achieved by students or with their participation.
However, in recent years, more and more students have decided to quit competitive sports. One particular reason that has been confirmed is the increased workload arising from having to reconcile the demands of a degree program or vocational training and competitive sports. In order to respond to the student athletes’ pressure and support them in their sports career as well as in their future professional career, the Greinert Family initiated the Mannheim Sports Scholarship in 2009, which they sponsor to this day.