March 26, 2009


INDIANAPOLIS -- The city of Detroit is hosting the NCAA 2009 Men’s Final Four April 4 – 6, but the event is about far more than just basketball. With a number of community events scheduled to take place the week of April 1 – 7, the NCAA and local Detroit organizers see it as an opportunity to make an important statement of support and leave a legacy in the Motor City and surrounding communities.

“The 2009 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Detroit provides us a unique opportunity to set new standards of partnership for the communities we work with to stage our national championship,” said Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president for basketball and business strategies. “We want to leave tangible, positive footprints on our host communities, especially their youth. It’s our way of saying thanks.”

The Detroit Local Organizing Committee (DLOC) played a major role in determining events to benefit the metro-Detroit area.

“We work very closely with the NCAA to tailor these programs to our needs. They are a good example of what can happen when two organizations join together to do something positive for the community. The NCAA’s positive impact on Detroit will go on long after the games are over,” said Bill Ryan, executive director of the DLOC.

Scheduled community relations events, many of which are firsts for the Men’s Final Four, include the following:

NCAA Final Four Legacy Program: The NCAA, the DLOC and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan will establish four early learning and literacy centers in the Detroit community by 2010. The centers are designed to enhance school readiness for young children through the establishment of regional centers and neighborhood hubs throughout the Detroit area. Two of the four centers, the Shurly Family Learning Center in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood and the Southwest Solutions in southwest Detroit, have already opened. The NCAA contributed $250,000 to the program and has played a leading role in contributing the signage for the centers.

NCAA Final Four Food Recovery Program: The NCAA and the DLOC will team with Forgotten Harvest, metropolitan Detroit’s only mobile food rescue organization, to conduct a Food Recovery Program in conjunction with the 2009 Men’s Final Four. A fleet of refrigerated trucks staffed by volunteers will collect prepared food that has not been served and deliver it to emergency food providers across the tri-county region.

NCAA and Wilson Uniform Donation: The NCAA and Wilson Sporting Goods Co., will donate 11,000 adult and youth basketball uniforms (men’s and women’s) to local youth basketball organizations. These uniforms will be distributed to organizations that are in the most need.

NCAA and CBS Community Service Project: NCAA and CBS officials will volunteer their time on Wednesday, April 1 at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit to serve meals to the less fortunate and tutor approximately 30 girls and boys with their school homework.

NCAA, NABC and Samaritan’s Feet: Up to 1,000 pairs of shoes will be distributed to needy boys and girls in the Detroit-metro area through this unique partnership. Samaritan’s Feet is a humanitarian relief organization that puts shoes on kids’ feet all around the world. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) supports and promotes the Samaritan’s Feet cause and they endorse college basketball coaches to coach barefoot to help drive awareness of the need. The donations will take place at Coleman A. Young Community Center on Thursday, April 2 from 3 – 5 p.m.

NCAA Middle School Madness: Four Detroit-area middle school students (two boys and two girls) will appear on a local television morning show after being selected as the winners of the Middle School Madness essay and poster contests. The Middle School Madness Program provides a collection of resources and activities designed to link classroom learning for sixth- through eighth-grade students with the NCAA Men’s Final Four. As part of the program, students are asked to write essays or draw posters that exemplify the positive aspects of sportsmanship. The four winning students will appear live on WDIV-TV on Friday, April 3 between 7 – 9 a.m. They also will be recognized at the Salute Dinner on Thursday evening and will receive free tickets to the games and Hoop City.

NCAA Final Four Early Learning Centers Book Drive: As part of its efforts to increase literacy for Detroit youth, the NCAA will be hosting a book drive to supplement its work in the early learning and literacy centers. Special areas for age-appropriate pre-school book donations will be set aside at all of the events surrounding the Men’s Final Four from April 3 through April 6.

NCAA Final Four Sports Career & Sports Expo: Professionals from all aspects of the sports industry will be on hand to inform, educate and enlighten high school and college students on the prospects of careers in athletics and athletic-related jobs such as athletic administration, sports reporting, etc. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to meet with college representatives. The expo will be held at Wayne State University and University Community Arts Center Auditorium on Friday, April 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

YES Clinics hydrated by vitaminwater revive: Girls and boys from the ages of 10 to 16 will receive free sports instruction from NCAA coaches and student-athletes while gaining conditioning tips, connecting with other local athletes and learning life skills and sportsmanship. The clinics will be held at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Shelby Township, Renaissance High School and Western International High School on Saturday, April 4 from 8 a.m. to noon.

NCAA and the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation: A “TYLER’S COURT” will be dedicated in Detroit at the Boll Family YMCA Gymnasium. The Tyler Ugolyn Foundation was founded in memory of Tyler Ugolyn, an outstanding NCAA student-athlete at Columbia University. It is committed to providing support to youth basketball, with an emphasis on court refurbishment, skills clinics and financial support for character-building educational programs aimed at children in urban settings. The dedication will take place on Sunday, April 4 at 11 a.m.

NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Game of Change Showcase and Reception: The NCAA’s Diversity and Inclusion staff will acknowledge local administrators, teachers and students in Metro Detroit school systems that used the documentary Game of Change, along with a newly developed curriculum in the spring of 2009, to educate the local Detroit community about the NCAA and to encourage positive discussions on race relationships. The Game of Change is the first documentary produced by the NCAA and tells the story of the 1963 NCAA basketball tournament match-up between Loyola and Mississippi State - a game that literally changed the fabric of American society.
The by invitation only showcase will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Sunday, April 5 from 3 – 5 p.m.

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member institutions. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes

Compete in NCAA championships in Divisons I, II and III sports. Visit and for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions – AT&T, Coca-Cola and Pontiac – and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners – Enterprise, Hershey’s, The Hartford, Lowe’s, Sheraton and State Farm.