Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's basketball teams will once again take part in an important cause as the Bulldogs team up for the 13th annual Charity Heart-to-Heart, Hand-in-Hand Special Olympics Benefit Game next Tuesday (April 17) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldog squads will team up to help raise funds for the local Special Olympics program in an event endorsed as a "Great Game for a Great Cause". Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (ET) and admission is free with donations accepted at the door.
The FSU student-athletes will split into two competing teams made up of both Bulldog men's and women's players along with local Special Olympics Area 5 athletes. This will be the 13th time that the game will be played in front of the FSU fans and the student body.
This past season, the Bulldog men's basketball squad captured the school's first NCAA Division II National Championship while finishing the year with a historic 38-1 overall record while the women's squad reached the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals for the first time since 2012.
The event is sponsored by the Sports Careers RSO as their end of the year philanthropy in tribute to the Area 5 Special Olympians. All proceeds raised at the event will go to the Area 5 Special Olympians.
Special Olympians will mix with men and women from Ferris State's basketball squads to play for fun and glory and to raise funds to support Special Olympians from the area to attend Special Olympics events in Michigan and the region.
The event has served as a way for the Area 5 Special Olympians, who often attend Ferris State athletic events, to interact and join the players on the court and physically be part of a team. It gives Special Olympians an opportunity to be in the spotlight and play alongside the Bulldog athletes they watch and follow all season long.
The game will feature evenly-divided teams between the Olympians and the Ferris State men and women's teams.
"Our players love playing in this game every year and being teammates with the Special Olympics athletes," said FSU men's basketball head coach Andy Bronkema. "It is a great experience for our own student-athletes as well and we enjoy taking part in this game. We invite everyone to come out and cheer both teams on."
Raffles and other fundraisers will be held to support the Area 5 athletes. Various silent auction gifts will include a signed basketball by the 2018 NCAA Division II National Champion men's basketball squad, a ball signed by the Bulldogs' 2017-18 women's hoops team along with a signed ball from the 2017 NCAA Regional Semifinalist women's volleyball squad in addition to many more prizes.
Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena in the Ewigleben Sports Complex.
The event dates back to 2005 and presently the Sports Careers registered student organization on the FSU campus, along with sports communication program students, promotes and organizes the event in cojunction with the Area 5 basketball athletes.