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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's basketball squads took part again in an important cause as the Bulldogs teamed up for the 13th annual Charity Heart-to-Heart, Hand-in-Hand Special Olympics Benefit game on Tuesday (April 17) evening inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldog squads teamed up to help raise more than $3,000 for the local Special Olympics program in an event endorsed as a "Great Game for a Great Cause".
The FSU student-athletes were split into two competing teams made up of both Bulldog men's and women's players along with local Special Olympics Area 5 athletes. It marked the 13th time that the game was played in front of the FSU fans and the student body.
The event was sponsored by the Sports Careers RSO as their end of the year philanthropy in tribute to the Area 5 Special Olympians. All proceeds raised at the event go to the Area 5 Special Olympians.
Special Olympians mixed with men and women from Ferris State's basketball squads to play for fun and glory and to raise funds to support Special Olympians from the area to attend Special Olympics events in Michigan and the region.
The event has served as a way for the Area 5 Special Olympians, who often attend Ferris State athletic events, to interact and join the players on the court and physically be part of a team. It gave Special Olympians an opportunity to be in the spotlight and play alongside the Bulldog athletes they watch and follow all season long.
Raffles and other fundraisers were held to support the Area 5 athletes. Various silent auction gifts included a signed basketball by the 2018 NCAA Division II National Champion men's basketball squad, a ball signed by the Bulldogs' 2017-18 women's hoops team along with a signed ball from the 2017 NCAA Regional Semifinalist women's volleyball squad in addition to many more prizes.
The event dates back to 2005 and presently the Sports Careers registered student organization on the FSU campus, along with sports communication program students, promotes and organizes the event in cojunction with the Area 5 basketball athletes.
This past season, the Bulldog men's basketball squad captured the school's first NCAA Division II National Championship while finishing the year with a historic 38-1 overall record while the women's squad reached the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals for the first time since 2012.