Make your home page

UIndy to host Special Olympics youth basketball tournament

UIndy to host Special Olympics youth basketball tournament

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The University of Indianapolis will host the State Youth Basketball tournament for the Special Olympics on Sunday.

University representatives say the tournament is a product of a partnership between the Sport Management Program at UIndy and Special Olympics Indiana. The event is planned by a class at UIndy, giving students a unique hands-on experience.

Dr. Jennifer VanSickle and Emma Beasley joined Daybreak on Tuesday to discuss the tournament. VanSickle is a professor and the Chair of the Kinesiology for Health & Sports Science at UIndy. Beasley is a student in the Sports Management Program.

“It’s the only youth basketball tournament for Special Olympics youth – in the world. And the state of Indiana is hosting that, with the University of Indianapolis and the University of Indianapolis’ Sport Management students are the ones who are planning and implementing this tournament,” VanSickle said.

“I’m excited to interact with the kids. I helped out with this event last year and it was so much fun getting to know some of the kids and getting to work with them,” Beasley said.

More than 125 athletes and 200 volunteers will be involved on Sunday. However, organizers say volunteers are still needed.

According to Special Olympics Indiana, “Basketball is the third-largest sport that Special Olympics Indiana offers. In all, more than 2,000 athletes and Unified Partners and 253 teams participated this season. Area and sectional tournaments were held throughout the state in the leadup to the state tournaments.”

VanSickle says she is especially looking forward to two aspects of the event.

“When we see one of the Special Olympics athletes get a basket, and then the crowd roars, they’re excited, and they’re high-fiving people – it’s so much fun that way,” VanSickle said. “Then for me as a professor, to see our students and all the planning and work they put into it, (whether) things go well or when things don’t go well, and they have to make a decision and that decision is the right one, to see them mature and grow through this experience and then be ready for their careers is extremely rewarding for me.”

The Indiana Youth Basketball Tournament will be from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. The Opening Ceremony begins at 12 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.