NCAA Tabs Special Olympics Day As Division III August Spotlight Poll Finalist

NCAA Tabs Special Olympics Day As Division III August Spotlight Poll Finalist

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BRADFORD, Pa. -- The NCAA has selected the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford's Special Olympics Day at the men's and women's basketball doubleheader on Feb. 10 as one of its finalists for the Division III August Special Olympics Spotlight Poll.

Each month, NCAA Division III selects three Special Olympics events from the school year for its Special Olympics Poll. The winner will be decided by an open fan poll, and fans can vote once per day per device.

On Feb. 10, McKean County Special Olympics was invited to spend the day cheering on the Panthers at the Pitt-Bradford basketball games. 

All participants were given a hot dog, popcorn and a drink, all compliments of the Pitt-Bradford softball team concession stand. The special athletes also had the opportunity to meet and interact with the Panther basketball players after each game.

The idea to host Special Olympics day came from Donny Johnson, a 2003 inductee into the Pitt-Bradford Athletics Hall of Fame and steadfast Panther supporter who is heavily involved with McKean County Special Olympics. 

The Feb. 10 event is just one of many ways in which Pitt-Bradford was involved with McKean County Special Olympics. In October, the Student-Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted Bowling With A Buddy -- a bowling outing with Pitt-Bradford student-athletes and special athletes -- and throughout the year, members of the Pitt-Bradford swim programs and many other volunteers host McKean County Special Olympics at the Paul C. Duke Aquatic Center.

McKean County Special Olympics is sanctioned through Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) with over 360 special athletes and over 100 volunteers participating in the programs of aquatics, track & field, softball, skiing, bowling, basketball and softball. 

NCAA Division III and Special Olympics formed a partnership on August 1, 2011, focusing on enhancing the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes, providing a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities and building awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services.