USA South Set for NCAA Division III Week
(FAYETTEVILLE, NC) - This week, April 9-15, 2012, the USA South Athletic Conference is participating in the first nationwide celebration of NCAA Division III Week. The Conference will conduct all six of its spring championships this week in Burlington, North Carolina and will welcome athletes from Special Olympics Alamance County to help open and close the tournaments.
This Special Olympic involvement stems from the 2011 NCAA Convention when the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Special Olympics announced a partnership. This partnership is designed to improve the lives of Special Olympics athletes through their involvement with Division III student-athletes and to foster a mutual learning experience between Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes. The partnership aligns with the Division III attribute of citizenship in the division’s strategic-positioning platform. The federated structure of Special Olympics organizations around the country provides opportunities for Division III student-athletes in every state to participate in a variety of existing programs or create their own service opportunities.
The Special Olympians will be at each venue to throw out first pitches, hit ceremonial first tee-shots and stand beside USA South athletes during starting lineups. Additionally, the Special Olympic athletes will help honor newly crowned USA South champions during tournament-concluding award ceremonies.
The USA South's involvement with Special Olympics began in the fall (see here) as athletes from the Stonewall Therapeutic Center in Danville, Virginia joined the starting lineups of USA South women's soccer tournament finalists, Christopher Newport University and Shenandoah University. Also, this spring, during the USA South's spring community initiative "Pennies for a Purpose", Conference institutions raised $1,638.91 (see here) to be donated to local Special Olympic organizations. Currently, several USA South institutions have long standing relationships their local Special Olympic organizations.