Missouri State University Director of Athletics Kyle Moats announced the University has received a waiver from the NCAA to play a men’s basketball exhibition game at Missouri Southern State University on Saturday, Nov. 5.
NCAA regulations prohibit Division I programs from playing on the road for preseason exhibitions. However, the game on the campus of Missouri Southern in Joplin will be held in conjunction with ongoing area-wide relief efforts to aid victims of the May 22 tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri community about 70 miles west of Springfield. All proceeds from the game will go directly to the Missouri Southern Foundation’s Tornado Emergency Relief Fund to help aid the relief effort for the tornado that has killed 153.
“To see what the people there have gone through is really tough, particularly since it’s a place I’ve lived and coached,” said first-year MSU head basketball coach Paul Lusk who coached at Missouri Southern for current head coach Robert Corn from 1999-2002. “It just hits close to home with me, and I am really grateful we’ll get an opportunity to help.”
The NCAA waiver will also allow the Bears to retain their two home exhibition games, which are still being finalized. The complete non-conference schedule is expected to be released during the next couple of weeks.
“We are grateful that the NCAA has given us a chance to help our friends in Joplin with this game,” said Moats. “We have been waiting a couple of weeks to find out if (the waiver) would be granted or not, and we were elated that the game is now a reality.
“The real winners are the people of Joplin,” Moats continued. “We want them to know their neighbors at Missouri State are here for them for the long haul, and our commitment to providing assistance will continue long after the final horn sounds for this basketball game.”
Details on the game time and ticket information will be released at a later date.
Missouri Southern State University is an NCAA Division II program that competes in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), of which the Bears were a charter member. MSU competed in the MIAA from 1912 to 1981 and has played the Lions just twice in men’s basketball, most recently in 1978, in addition to an exhibition game at Hammons Student Center in 2005.
The Bears completed the 2010-11 season with a 26-9 overall record and finished 15-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference en route to the program’s first MVC regular-season title. The Lions were 26-5 this past season and advanced to the NCAA Division II round of 32.