MILWAUKE, WI, Feb. 18, 2016 – Twice in the last month, the Marquette University athletics department has welcomed Special Olympics of Wisconsin to two basketball games and provided an opportunity for local Special Olympic athletes to compete on the game floor of Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
During halftime of the Marquette men’s basketball game on Jan. 27, two Milwaukee-area Special Olympics basketball teams played one another on Al McGuire Court at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Prior to the start of the Marquette men’s basketball game, Lee McGraw, a local Special Olympic athlete, began the evening when he sang the National Anthem.
During halftime of the game against Stetson, two area teams played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center
The Marquette vs. UW-Madison Special Olympics Unified Sports Rivalry Basketball Game occurred at the Al McGuire Center on Feb. 12, prior to the Marquette women’s basketball game. Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes from the Madison and Milwaukee areas joined teams with students from the Special Olympics College programs at Marquette University and University of Wisconsin.
The Unified Sports program, a national initiative of Special Olympics, has had similar events involving other universities around the country. In a game that involved multiple lead changes, Marquette claimed the inaugural victory in this series, 39-36.
“I’ve always had great affection for Special Olympics as my brother has been a Special Olympian for a number of years,” Marquette Assistant Athletics Director Brian Morgan said. “The ability to connect our local Special Olympic community with Marquette Athletics via our student-athletes, students, and fans is truly a special opportunity. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Special Olympics of Greater Milwaukee.”
“The partnership between Special Olympics Wisconsin and Marquette Athletics has been great for our athletes and the greater Milwaukee community. Marquette has provided our athletes some unique sports experiences that helped them showcase their abilities and bring awareness to individuals with intellectual disabilities,” Special Olympics Regional Director Jason Blank said. “This has been a successful first year partnering with Marquette University and we are excited to continue the relationship in the coming years.”
Special Olympics’ Unified Sports initiative joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared sports experiences. Unified teams are made up of people with similar age and ability. The students from Marquette University are members of the Special Olympics College program. Special Olympics College connects college students and individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport to build friendships and help lead the social justice movement of Special Olympics.
Via Marquette Athletics