The Big 12 Conference has partnered with Special Olympics to participate in local events in October and November, with both conference office staff members and member institutions contributing their time to the organization. During the week of Oct. 27-30, Big 12 employees volunteered with local teams at the Area 10 Bowling Tournament at USA Bowl in Dallas.
The Missouri men’s basketball team also joined the partnership, playing host to a two-hour clinic for Special Olympics athletes in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, Nov. 1. Head coach Mike Anderson and his Tiger players worked with over 60 campers in attendance six skills stations at Mizzou Arena. Click here to read the news story about it.
In addition, the first two Big 12 Championships – cross country and soccer – provided venues for Special Olympics activities. At the cross country championship in Ames, Iowa, on Nov. 1, over a dozen members of The ARC of Iowa participated in a race down the final 80 meters of the Iowa State Cross Country Course. Following the race, each ARC athlete received a certificate of participation from the Big 12.
The final game of the Big 12 Soccer Championship in San Antonio on Sunday, Nov. 9 welcomed two athletes for a pregame presentation of the game ball to officials. At halftime of the championship match, the Hutto Hippos from Austin and the NEYSO Special Team of San Antonio also faced off in a scrimmage for the crowd of Big 12 soccer fans.
The Big 12 has made an effort to expand its involvement with Special Olympics in recent years, especially with the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives. SAAC members have internship opportunities available with the state-level Special Olympics offices. Special Olympics has been the charity of choice for the Big 12 Conference since 1996.
Throughout the seven conference member states, more than 73,000 athletes participate in a total of 28 Special Olympics sports ranging from track and field to power lifting to team handball.
Special Olympics provide year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through sports, Special Olympics' athletes have opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, learn new skills, gain self-confidence, set goals and reach expectations.
For more information on getting involved with the Special Olympics program, contact your state office.