The University of Indianapolis hosted the Special Olympics Indiana basketball tournament on March 25, marking the 11th year this event has been held at UIndy and the 51st year of the tournament, according to WTHR . Hite said the event is put together by the Kinesiology 481 class at UIndy. The goal of the class is to plan and execute the Special Olympics tournament every year, he said.
The tournament hosted around 150 athletes competing in 14 teams, according to Hite. The teams are also put into divisions based on skill level. According to WTHR, there were 5-on-5 games as well as 3-on-3 games.
Hite said that putting together the tournament has been a great experience and opportunity to learn about everything that goes into building a program at a larger scale. Junior sports management major Carter Drake said it is a great opportunity to build these skills.
“It’s a great opportunity for experience and it’s with a great organization like Special Olympics,” Drake said.
According to Hite, there are six other departments involved in the event other than kinesiology. He said that physical therapy assistants, education, music therapy, nursing, public health and occupational therapy departments will have booths at the tournament that will provide the athletes with something to do in their downtime between games.
In addition to the games and activities, Hite said there are opening ceremonies at the beginning of the tournament. Hite said that the opening ceremonies feature UIndy swimmer Liam Price, a Special Olympics athlete who will be competing at the world games for Team USA this summer.
“It’s a really big honor for [Price], and we’re having him out to celebrate him as well during our opening ceremonies,” Hite said.
According to Hite, the KINS 481 class is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Special Olympics athletes. Additionally, it allows for students to get to know these athletes.
Drake said he hopes the tournament will bring the UIndy community together since there are so many volunteers from campus pitching in to help make the event happen. He said that it is a great opportunity for the campus to give back to the community.
“Hopefully, it just brings everyone together,” Drake said. “It’s a great opportunity because we have about 200 volunteers from the campus from cheer teams, to people helping with score tables. So, hopefully just a great opportunity for people to give back to the community.”