NCAA Tournament leaves lasting impact on Indiana schools, organizations

The Daily Reformer

INDIANAPOLIS – We’re heading into Final Four weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This tournament is impacting basketball fans everywhere, but as host city, here in Indianapolis there are some amazing efforts happening outside of the tournament that’ll make a big lasting impact. While the teams and fans head home, that impact of March Madness will stay here in central Indiana.

“It’s a big difference,” said Zach Sigmund is talking about the refurbished basketball court and the nearly 75 backpacks full of school supplies and degree products for the Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis.

They’ll also get an updated library with new carpet and furniture. All possible because the organization is the recipient of the NCAA Legacy Restoration Project.

“Any time you get offered an upgrade to your facility it makes an impact on the kids’ lives, they already love coming into the gym, now they’re going to love coming into an even nicer gym,” added Sigmund.

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The impact is being felt from the gym to the classroom.

“It’s called the March Madness Skills Challenge,” said Molly Wright, Senior Director of Youth Programming for Indiana Sports Corp. “It’s been a very tough year in the schools and being able to provide some connection to March Madness has been super exciting for these teachers.”

Indiana Sports Corp. Is challenging 5th graders not only in Indiana, but also in nine other states, to focus on their language arts, social studies and math skills.

“Teach kids what the tournament is and what it means to have it in Indianapolis and connect a little bit of basketball to it,” said Wright.

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The students are hearing from college athletes, learning skills and what it takes to get to that level. Students say, they’re inspired.

“Lots of great advice and tips from athletes and students who are able to do what they do,” said fifth-grader Luke Morrison-Smith of Zionsville Middle School.

Fifth-grader Teel Butts added, “I sent an e-mail to Purdue and i thought that was kind of cool!”

The NCAA says it’s committed to leaving its mark on the city and the next generation.

“These conversations we had in this program, gave us an opportunity to say, okay, the things we are doing actually matters for the future, say Emily Smith, a Teacher with Zionsville Middle School.

 Wright added, “It’s more than just a game it’s part of the legacy we’re leaving here.”

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Teachers and school districts are still allowed to register to participate in the March Madness Skills Challenge. It’s available through June.


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