IHSAA and Special Olympics Indiana Announce Partnership

IHSAA LOGOThe Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. (IHSAA) and Special Olympics Indiana have announced a partnership which will set the stage for ongoing activities between the athletes from both organizations intended to foster mutually beneficial learning experiences for years to come.

The partnership was inspired by the 2012‐13 IHSAA Student Advisory Committee (SAC), as it sought out opportunities for community outreach and volunteer experiences and decided that Special Olympics was a perfect fit for their goals. The SAC is a group of 18 student‐athletes who represent the 160,000 participants around the state as a liaison to the IHSAA staff and Board of Directors.

“We feel that a partnership with Special Olympics will provide us with an opportunity to learn as student leaders by giving back to a very special group of individuals in our communities based on our mutual interest in sports,” said Ally Stein, a senior at Hamilton Southeastern High School and president of this year’s Student Advisory Committee.

Through the partnership, the IHSAA will encourage its 410 member schools and their athletes and coaches to participate in existing Special Olympics events, create their own events and otherwise lend support to Special Olympics Indiana. The activities pursued by IHSAA student athletes will vary in each school, county and athletic conference tailored to best utilize the student athletes’ time and local resources.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox commented, "The opportunity for the IHSAA to partner with Special Olympics of Indiana may prove to be one of the most profound decisions made by the Association in the ongoing development of student leaders in an education-based athletic setting. I am most pleased that our Student Advisory Committee has decided to engage with and support the activities of one of our state's most important organizations."

Mike Furnish, President and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana added, “By partnering with the IHSAA we’re optimistic that students with special needs will be more accepted in their schools and feel more motivated to get involved in sports through Special Olympics.”

The IHSAA and Special Olympics Indiana will celebrate the new partnership with a reception at the IHSAA Office (9150 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis) on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 4‐5 pm ET. News media are welcome to attend.

For additional information on the partnership, please contact Lee Lonzo, IHSAA Educational Consultant, at LeeLonzo@me.com or 317-796-5490.