April 23, 2024
The Business of Basketball

Photo: Florida Lottery

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The Business of Basketball

Bright Futures Scholarship Allows Vemuri to Pursue College and Career

| 4/1/2024

By the time Rohith “Ro” Vemuri graduated from high school, the Jacksonville native was ready for the big leagues.

A four-year starter on Stanton College Prep’s basketball team in Jacksonville, Vemuri decided early on he wanted to work as a student manager with the University of Florida men’s basketball team. While earning a degree in business management, his goal is to pursue the sport as a coach or a manager in the college or professional ranks.

Raised by parents who immigrated from India, Vemuri and his sister both knew college was in their future. His parents researched scholarship opportunities and learned about the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Vemuri’s parents told him that focusing on school and getting good grades and test scores could lead to scholarships.

Vemuri’s mother encouraged him to play sports when he was young as a way to stay active and make new friends. He eventually saw success as a member of Stanton’s basketball team, which further drove home his passion for the sport. “After I first touched a basketball,” he says, “I’ve never looked back.”

Though his parents attended college in India, Vemuri is the first person in his family to go to college on a scholarship in the U.S. The 20-year-old college junior plans to graduate in 2025 with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a certificate in sports management.

For now, he splits his time between his morning classes, evening homework, and afternoons working with the team. As a junior student manager, Vemuri’s responsibilities include preparing game films and videos, helping run workouts and practices, and traveling with the team.

“Game days are hectic for a D1 basketball program, so come gametime, players can play and coaches can coach,” he says. “I’m at the training facility all day.”

Receiving the Bright Futures Scholarship has allowed Vemuri to focus on academics and the business of basketball and not worry about how he’ll pay for his education.

“I realize how big a burden it can be for certain families. The money aspect for college is not guaranteed. I’m grateful that I have a Bright Futures Scholarship,” says Vemuri, who will graduate debt-free. “Going to a rigorous high school helped prepare me, so that once I got into college, my parents knew I didn’t have to worry about the financial aspect. I could just focus on academics and my career.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA LOTTERY / BRIGHT FUTURES SCHOLARSHIP

Since 1988, the Florida Lottery has contributed billions of dollars to education helping nearly one million Floridians attend college on a Bright Futures Scholarship. So every time you play, you play it forward.
* As of February 2024

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