The NCAA and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association will join forces with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund during the 2016-17 women’s basketball season in efforts to push the charity’s fundraising efforts to even greater heights.
The unified initiative also will involve fans and sponsors, with a highlighted activity being the new Play4Kay National Free Throw Challenge. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising funds for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.
Schools from across the country are being asked to become involved in the following:
• Host a Play4Kay game and call it Play4Kay.
• Raise money and donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, and participate in the Play4Kay National Free Throw Challenge.
• Honor cancer survivors on court during games this season.
• Have the head coach make a personal contribution to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in honor of cancer survivors. A check presentation to the fund will be held during the 2017 Women’s Final Four on behalf of the coaches.
• Present in-venue videos and public address announcements for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund during games this season.
• Purchase generic T-shirts from the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to promote uniform branding of the fund.
“We have the opportunity as a collective in the sport of women’s basketball to unite like never before, to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and support the battle against all cancers affecting women,” said Stephanie Glance, the fund’s executive director. “We want to ignite a philanthropic movement in women’s basketball that benefits all participating schools and elevates the sport through united efforts to change the lives of those battling cancer. It’s a win-win for all involved.”
The first phase of the National Free Throw Challenge will come before the start of the upcoming season, with coaches from across the country being challenged to shoot free throws during practice while being videotaped, attempting to make the most they can consecutively. Each consecutive free throw made will equal a $4 donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund from the participating coach/school. Coaches are then asked to post the video to their school and personal social media sites that include Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook, while tagging other coaches to continue the challenge using the hashtag #FT4Kay and tagging @KayYowFund.
For coaches to be entered in the National Free Throw Challenge, the video of their feat needs to be posted by Jan. 1. The coach making the most consecutive free throws will be rewarded with airfare, lodging and a game ticket to the 2017 Women’s Final Four, set for March 31 and April 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, where the National Free Throw Challenge will culminate.
“Participating in the Play4Kay initiative has the potential to elevate the sport of women’s basketball and unite us for the greater good to make a significant impact in the fight against all women’s cancers that far exceeds wins and losses on the court,” said Sherri Coale, head women’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma and president of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund board of directors. “We have the opportunity to support our charity of choice, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, at a new level. Please join me in this effort.”
Schools and fans also will be invited to participate in the National Free Throw Challenge during the coming season. Schools must first register to host a Play4Kay game this season on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund website at www.kayyow.com. Play4Kay games typically are conducted during early February.
During the Play4Kay game, schools will be encouraged to include fans in the National Free Throw Challenge, with accompanying videos then posted. The fan connecting on the most consecutive free throws, as well as the school marketing director, will win a trip to the 2017 Women’s Final Four, where they will be invited to attend the games, fan events, the Beyond the Baseline summit and the WBCA convention.
The advancing coach and fan will have the opportunity to face off against each other during a free throw contest held during a break in action at the Women’s Final Four. Fans will also be invited to participate in a free throw contest in Tourney Town, the fan interactive area outside American Airlines Center, during Women’s Final Four weekend.
Tourney Town will include a number of Kay Yow Cancer Fund-related initiatives that will continue the momentum.
“The WBCA family of women’s basketball coaches is proud to support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and applauds the creativity of the Play 4Kay National Free Throw Challenge,” said Danielle Donehew, WBCA executive director. “We are pleased this initiative will drive a unified effort to bring energy and awareness into our venues, furthering the fan experience and the fight against women’s cancers. We stand ready to participate.”
There will be additional sponsor and private donor activities during the challenge, with more information provided to school marketing directors in the coming days.
“We have been supportive of the great work of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for many years. It became apparent that a unified effort was needed before and throughout the women’s basketball regular season in order to rally our stakeholders around this worthy and important cause,” said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball championships. “By working together we can generate more support for this important initiative while elevating our game at the same time. I encourage all coaches and schools to become involved.”
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund officially was founded Dec. 3, 2007, from the vision of the organization’s namesake, who was North Carolina State University’s head women’s basketball coach. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 before succumbing to the disease Jan. 24, 2009. To date, the fund has awarded more than $5.28 million in grants for women’s cancer research. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or to make a donation, visit www.KayYow.com.