College campuses across the country are raising funds to support communities recovering from disastrous events. These efforts to contribute money to charities supporting wildfire recovery, hurricane relief and memorial funds are done within NCAA rules and with the guidance established by committees comprised of NCAA member schools.
According to guidelines recommended by the Division I Men's Basketball Oversight Committee and established by the Division I Committee on Legislative Relief in June, basketball teams can play a charity game to raise funds after a catastrophic event as long as they do not exceed two preseason events. Schools can utilize an existing preseason exhibition game against a non-Division I opponent to raise funds for charity or can seek a waiver to allow a previously scheduled practice scrimmage against a Division I opponent to be played as a fundraising exhibition game. The two-event limit was set after gathering feedback across several membership groups and student-athletes.
“Membership feedback is an important part of developing any guideline or rule,” said Jeff Hathaway, Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee chair and special assistant to the president at Hofstra. “However, we heard consistent support from student-athletes and administrators for these charitable efforts, along with an encouragement for schools to pursue ways to support catastrophic events without adding another date of competition. We will certainly revisit the discussion after this season to evaluate if we are in the right place.”
Several schools have organized fundraising events, including:
Georgia vs. UAB in Birmingham for the Red Cross (California wildfires).
Nevada vs. Washington in Reno for the California Community Foundation — Wildfire Relief.
UNC Wilmington vs. Clemson in Wilmington for Good Shepherd Center (UNCW Campus Emergency fund).
Bakersfield vs. Long Beach State in Bakersfield, Calif., for the Red Cross (California wildfires).
West Virginia vs. Penn State in Morgantown for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund (Hurricane Florence).
A West Virginia official told NCAA.com that the Mountaineers gave up an exhibition game against Alderson Broaddus for the game against Penn State.
North Carolina and South Carolina wanted to do a charity game for Hurricane Florence. But neither school was willing to give up an already established preseason event.
A North Carolina official told NCAA.com the Tar Heels’ Mount Olive exhibition game on Nov. 2 is part of the season-ticket package. The Tar Heels are also playing a closed, controlled scrimmage on the road.
North Carolina clarified Tuesday the Tar Heels didn’t make a formal waiver request to the NCAA for a third preseason game.
If college coaches and schools want to raise the number of preseason games to three (some combination of exhibitions, scrimmages or charity games) then there is an opportunity to legislate this into NCAA rules in the coming year.
And there is definitely support to do so. But there wasn’t enough backing this summer.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin told NCAA.com he is in favor of three preseason games with one designated for charity. And the reason he didn’t change either a scrimmage or the exhibition game against Augustana University was because it “is not fair to the opponent. At this stage they would not be able to fill the void.’’
Clemson coach Brad Brownell told NCAA.com the Tigers gave up a scrimmage with Ole Miss to play the charity game with UNC Wilmington. He said Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis cooperated and found another preseason game.
“Fortunately, UNCW and us were able to make it work,’’ Brownell said. “Our game will be very good for UNCW and the area. They need something good right now.’’
Brownell said he’s in favor of a third game since coaches have even more time with players.
“Everyone likes to play so they can see growth and improvement,’’ Brownell said.
New Georgia coach Tom Crean told NCAA.com he wanted to play a road game against someone they didn't have on the schedule. He reached out to UAB coach Rob Ehsan.
"We gave up a home exhibition which we could do with our home schedule and I thought the benefits of playing on the road and helping others would be beneficial in many ways especially with us being in our first year,'' Crean said.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨— UAB Men's Basketball (@UAB_MBB) September 11, 2018
We will host @UGABasketball on Oct. 18 in the Hoops Season Tipoff Event at 7 p.m. to benefit the @RedCross!
📰: https://t.co/QOwbLx9STr#WinAsOne | #HeartOverHype pic.twitter.com/FmPpd1HHiL
Minnesota investigated doing a game for charity but wasn’t about to give up the return of a controlled scrimmage with Creighton. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino told NCAA.com he is also in favor of adding a third game.
Nebraska looked into doing a game with Colorado State, but for the same reason as Minnesota, the Huskers weren’t willing to give up a scrimmage (against Iowa State). A year ago, the Huskers played a charity game against Mississippi State.
“These games are great,’’ Nebraska coach Tim Miles told NCAA.com.
If schools want to do more of them for a charity, they can give up something — like an exhibition or scrimmage — or be proactive and work toward building consensus toward changing the guideline for up to three games.