INDIANAPOLIS – In an ongoing effort to further the impact of NCAA® March Madness, the NCAA and Indiana Sports Corp have developed and expanded an array of youth initiatives available throughout Indiana. These programs, including Read to the Final Four which launched in October 2020, reach students at all education levels from pre-K to high school.
“Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent or just someone who loves the game of basketball, we have ways to get involved in this history-making experience about to descend on our great state,” said JoAn Scott, NCAA managing director of men’s basketball. “These initiatives, all of which are offered for free, provide fun, engaging and, most importantly, educational ways to connect student learning through the sport of basketball.”
Read to the Final Four – Elite Eight Announced (Third Grade Students)
Read to the Final Four, a literacy program organized by the NCAA and host committee for third grade students and classrooms across the state, announced its bracket competition field of 68 in January. Since then, like the traditional bracket for basketball, schools have competed to advance based on points awarded which takes into consideration minutes read and the school size. To date, third graders across the state have logged an astounding 6.7 million minutes for Read to the Final Four.
Schools earning a spot in the Elite Eight include:
Quinn Buckner Region
PINE VILLAGE (Pine Village)
Calbert Cheaney Region
GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN (Greenwood)
GLENWOOD PARK (Ft. Wayne)
Katie Douglas Region
SAINT NICHOLAS (Sunman)
George Hill Region
COLUMBUS CHRISTIAN (Columbus)
For this accomplishment, each of these eight schools will be awarded $1,000 for a library refresh.
More information: readtothefinalfour.renaissance.com
Legacy Restoration Project Presented by Degree Deodorant
As part of the lead up to the Final Four, Degree Deodorant, the NCAA and host committee will also partner to refurbish the basketball court at Boys & Girls Club-Legore Unit, 5228 W. Minnesota St., Indianapolis. The project includes construction updates to the basketball rims and goals, flooring, scoreboard, wall padding and paint. Through this initiative, the library facility at Legore also will be refurbished with new furniture and carpet. Nearly 75 backpacks filled with school supplies and Degree product, and approximately 40 basketballs will also be donated to participants at Legore. This is part of Degree Deodorant’s mission to inspire young people with the confidence and freedom to #KeepMoving.
More information: finalfourindy.com/community-engagement/legacy-restoration-project
March Madness Skills Challenge (Fifth Grade Teachers)
For the first time ever, a carefully crafted selection of fun lesson plans has been curated through a partnership with fieldXperience that blends the NCAA® basketball tournament with Indiana Department of Education standards. The platform includes quick and easy activities for daily lesson plans as well as activities by subject including math, science, social studies and language arts. Educators may enroll now through June 1, 2021 to participate and receive access to these 15-20 minute lessons.
More information: finalfourindy.com/community-engagement/march-madness-skills-challenge
Indy Welcome Letters (All Ages)
Hoosiers of all ages are encouraged to help welcome players, coaches and staff from all 68 teams coming to Indiana for NCAA® March Madness through writing welcome letters. The host committee, which aims to collect 2,500 “Welcome to Indiana” letters plus 1,500 congratulations letters for the final three rounds of the tournament, has developed simple templates that may be downloaded, including suggested topics and instructions for how to submit the letters available online.
More information: finalfourindy.com/community-engagement/indy-welcome-letters
NextGeneration Innovation Summit (High School Students)
In another first for NCAA® March Madness, high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the NextGeneration Innovation Summit. The summit, hosted by the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute faculty and students, will offer two 90-minute virtual sessions on Friday, April 2 and Monday, April 5. The interactive sessions, which will include trivia and prizes, will focus on creative and sports innovations that are part of the NCAA® March Madness experience.
More information: finalfourindy.com/community-engagement/nextgeneration-innovation-summit
NCAA® Final Four® Dribble® Presented by Buick (Youth 18 Years and Younger)
The NCAA Final Four Dribble presented by Buick is a great opportunity to get kids active the week of March 29. Participants will be encouraged to create a special short-distance course outside their homes or at a nearby park and “dribble” to celebrate the Final Four week of March Madness in Indiana. Registration is required and all registered participants will receive a Dribble-branded t-shirt and basketball through packet pick-ups at participating local Buick dealerships. Registration opens at 10AM on March 4.
For more information on the 2021 Final Four, visit ncaa.com/final-four.
About Indiana Sports Corp
Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit IndianaSportsCorp.org.