NCAA, Habitat For Humanities Make An Impact

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: November 15, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA and Habitat for Humanity International, in conjunction with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Habitat for Humanity Orlando, have joined forces to frame a house in partnership with a local Orlando family at the 29th annual Florida Classic presented by State Farm.

The build will take place on Friday, Nov. 21, from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. ET at the corner of Tampa and Church Streets (adjacent to the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium) in Orlando.

The build will mark the first time that the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity International have partnered on framing a home at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) football classic.

The Florida Classic presented by State Farm features Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University. Both schools are members of the MEAC and the NCAA, and State Farm is also a corporate partner of the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity International.

More than 50 volunteers, including representatives from Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, will frame the home at the build site. The home will remain on display through the Florida Classic presented by State Farm that Saturday, and then it will be moved to a permanent location.

“We’re really excited about this build as it broadens the reach of the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity partnership to include our HBCU membership,” said Charlotte Westerhaus, NCAA vice-president of diversity and inclusion.

“I want to thank the MEAC, Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University for allowing the build to take place at the Florida Classic. NCAA student-athletes and volunteers will come together a day before the game to frame a home that will help a family in the Orlando area.”

“The experience of helping those in need coupled with the significance and excitement of the Florida Classic makes for a great weekend in Orlando.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity International for the Florida Classic,” said Lynn Ivanek, development director for Habitat for Humanity Orlando.

“It’s partnerships like this that build community and raise awareness for our mission to build simple, decent, affordable homes for hard working, low income families.”

The Classic build also marks a return trip to Orlando for the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity, which partnered to build two homes in the city in 2007. The NCAA is visible in Orlando every year, as it hosts more than 700 student-athletes at its National Student-Athlete Development Conference each May and has hosted various NCAA championships in the city in the past.

The Florida Classic presented by State Farm is one of the largest football games between two HBCU schools. The game typically draws crowds of more than 60,000 in attendance, and has drawn an excess of 1.4 million fans since 1978.

The November 22 game will be broadcast at 2pm on ESPN Classic and The NCAA and Habitat for Humanity International began their “Home Team” partnership in September 2005 to help with the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

To date, more than 1,000 NCAA student-athletes and other volunteers have helped build 55 homes throughout the nation.

The Home Team partnership began with a $1 million lead gift from Division II and a $500,000 matching gift from the Association and the NCAA National Office.

The following January, the Association leadership pledged an additional $1 million for a total of $2.5 million. Home Team builds are generally conducted at NCAA championships and events where NCAA student-athletes are present.