Missouri Southern State University and the University of Missouri, in conjunction with the Joplin tornado relief campaign, will participate in the One State, One Spirit Classic Presented by Leggett & Platt. The basketball exhibition game received NCAA approval and will be played on Sunday Oct. 30 at Missouri Southern’ s Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin, Mo.
Tickets, pricing information and a finalized start time will be available later this summer, but this historic event will center around a 5:41 p.m. moment of silence, which was the exact time the tornado stuck Joplin. Proceeds from this exhibition game will be donated by Missouri Southern to support the rebuilding efforts in Joplin in the wake of the devastating May 22 tornado.
“While the state of Missouri is making every resource available to help the people, families and businesses cope with the immediate aftermath of the devastating Joplin tornado, our overall efforts must be long-term to match the many months of recovery ahead,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said. “The Missouri Tiger men’s basketball team is the state’s premier college basketball program. Having new coach Frank Haith take his team to Joplin for this exhibition game with Missouri Southern, with the proceeds to benefit tornado recovery, ensures that our efforts on behalf of storm victims are committed and ongoing,”
The game’s title sponsor will be Leggett & Platt. One of Southwest Missouri’s largest employers (headquartered in Carthage, Mo.), Leggett & Platt has been a visible presence in Joplin and surrounding communities for 128 years and many of its employees suffered personal loss in the May 22 storm.
“Leggett & Platt is proud to assist and be a part of this benefit exhibition game to help the Joplin area tornado victims,” Leggett & Platt CEO David Haffner said. “I played football for two years at MSSU before transferring to Mizzou and getting my undergraduate engineering degree from MU, so I have strong personal bonds with both universities. As time passes, it will be critical that we keep a priority on those that have lost so much, and this event will help refocus those efforts four months from now.”
Missouri Southern is coming off a 26-5 campaign in which the Lions won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) crown with a 19-3 mark. In addition to advancing to the Round of 32 in the 2011 NCAA Division II National Tournament, Head Coach Robert Corn was named finalist for national coach of the year in his 22nd season directing the program. In 2011-12 MSSU will return three starters, two all-conference and two all-region selections.
“MSSU, the City of Joplin and all of the areas affected by the tornado disaster are grateful and appreciative for the support from the University of Missouri,” said MSSU President Dr. Bruce Speck. “We know Mizzou athletics supports the entire (state of) Missouri team and we are thankful to be part of that effort. The game between the Tigers and the Lions will surely be exciting and will offer a welcome relief from the stresses of the recovery effort. The MU athletics team has already contributed much to the recovery effort and the entire Southwest Missouri region is thankful.”
Mizzou enters the 2011-12 campaign under the direction of first year head coach Frank Haith. The Tigers went 23-11 in 2011 and advanced to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament. Missouri will return all five starters in 2011-12 and have been a preseason Top 25 pick by most national prognosticators.
“We have greatly admired Missouri Southern State University’s tremendous effort in coming to the aid of the citizens of Joplin,” Chancellor Brady J. Deaton said. “To further support relief efforts, we are proud to partner with MSSU in staging this charity exhibition game. Public higher education serves Missourians in many ways, and certainly our outstanding coaches, student-athletes and athletic staff members have been among the first to step forward during this very challenging time for Joplin.”
This event will mark Mizzou’s first men’s basketball contest in the community of Joplin. Missouri Southern most recently traveled to Columbia on Nov. 11, 2008, for an exhibition contest.