Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's basketball teams will likely have a special group of fans rooting for them in the "131 Showdown" on Saturday (Jan. 29) night at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
The Ferris Foundation and the FSU Alumni Association, both of which are auxiliary fundraising arms of the university, have announced plans to host more than 700 young students, their families and instructors to the game as part of the 9-13 Initiative. The 9-13 Initiative is an effort to engage elementary and middle school children from the Grand Rapids area city schools, charter academies and youth group programs that engage underserved youth with the potential for future opportunities at Ferris State University.
The 700-plus participants will come from approximately 10 different groups and schools from within the urban Grand Rapids area. Each will receive complimentary tickets to the game and "I'm A Bulldog" tshirts along with group photos of the Bulldog mascot.
A special connection will also be made as current Ferris State University men's basketball players Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) and Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) were once affiliated with one of the groups slated to attend from the Seidman Center Boys and Girls Club, which is expecting to bring more than 75 kids.
"We are looking forward to seeing the hundreds of youth students along with their families from many of the school and community groups throughout Grand Rapids at this great event," said Jeremy Mishler, who serves as FSU's Alumni Director. "They are excited to cheer our teams on and be a part of this night."
In addition to hosting the youth through the 9-13 Initative, the FSU Alumni Association will also welcome more than 200 alumni and friends during a pregame reception from 5-8 p.m. (ET) at Van Andel Arena.
The "131 Showdown", which is presented by Amway, gets underway with the women's contest at 6 p.m. (ET) prior to the men's matchup where a share of first place will be on the line in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play starting at 8 p.m. (ET).
A portion of the proceeds from the "131 Showdown" will be donated to support cancer research at the Van Andel Institute as part of the Community for a Cure contest.
Two popular personalities will also be on hand for the "131 Showdown" as the Detroit Pistons public address announcer "Mason" will be on the mic for both games with Fox 17 entertainment reporter Emily Richett serving as the emcee for the evening.
Tickets for the "131 Showdown" can still be purchased by calling 1-(800)-745-3000 or by going online at Ticketmaster.com. Visit www.131showdown.com for more information.