Basketball is a beloved pastime throughout the Hoosier State, and Special Olympics Indiana’s own annual hoops tradition will culminate as nearly 900 athletes and Unified partners take to the hardwood for the 51st annual State Basketball Tournament, sponsored by Pacers Sports and Entertainment.
The Youth Tournament will take place on March 25 at the University of Indianapolis, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Tournament April 1-2 at the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park in Westfield. The double-elimination tournaments will include separate divisions for individual skills as well as 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 team competitions.
Basketball is the third-largest sport that Special Olympics Indiana offers. In all, more than 1,800 athletes and 231 teams participated this season, which also included area and sectional events held across the state leading up to the State Tournaments.
Indiana’s Youth State Basketball Tournament is the only Special Olympics basketball tournament in the world dedicated solely to youth athletes. For the 11th year, this event will be managed and staffed primarily by students in the University of Indianapolis’ sport management program. The Opening Ceremony will take place at 12:15 p.m. and competition will happen on from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
The Men’s and Women’s State Basketball Tournament, which will feature nearly 800 athletes and Unified partners from across Indiana, is the largest Special Olympics basketball tournament in North America. The Opening Ceremony will take place at 12:15 p.m. Saturday. Competition will go on from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The tournament will highlight both Unified — which brings athletes with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team to foster friendship and promote inclusion — as well as traditional team events.
The Special Olympics Indiana State Basketball Tournament is free and spectators are encouraged to attend. Additionally, volunteers are needed to support the Men’s and Women’s Tournament.