In an extraordinary act of kindness, Brian Dooley, a football player from Eastern Michigan University (EMU), chose to give up his scholarship for a teammate in need, Zack Conti.
Zack, from Trenton, wasn’t just any teammate. As a senior offensive lineman, he had dedicated four challenging years to the EMU football team. He faced hurdles many of his peers didn’t; he paid for his own education. At times, this meant selling his plasma, a measure few students would ever consider. This determination to stay in school and on the team wasn’t overlooked. He played in 23 games in just two seasons.
Yet, despite his hard work, Zack didn’t have a scholarship. The university’s football program had reached its limit. Coach Chris Creighton tried repeatedly to secure one more scholarship for Zack. He even approached the NCAA multiple times saying, “We’re at 85 scholarships. We have 84 given out…we need 86.” But the rules were strict: only 85 scholarships were allowed.
Brian Dooley from Bowling Green, Ohio, saw the struggle and dedication of his fellow lineman. Recognizing Zack’s commitment and the financial challenges he faced, Brian made a decision that few would consider. He approached Coach Creighton and said, “Coach, that guy has earned it. And I’ve talked this over with my family and the whole bit, and if there is a way to make this happen, I am willing to give up my scholarship and to give it to Zack Conti.”
The generous gesture was revealed to the entire team after a practice session. Brian officially passed on his scholarship to Zack in a moment charged with emotion.
Brian later shared his reasons: “Seeing him walk away from something that he loves did not sit well with me. He works hard and gets extra work with me all the time. In my eyes, he earned it 100%. Giving up my scholarship so he can stay and play means everything. I’m proud of what he has become and cannot wait to see what he does on the field.”
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17