While in person Unified activities have still been limited at the high school level this fall, colleges were able to reinstate their previous activities and introduce some new ones. Through continued collaboration with active student leaders and Intramural Departments, SOKY partnered with three colleges to offer unified experiences during the fall semester.
Both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville were able to once again have Unified basketball, with both schools offering 4v4 Unified tournaments. UofL was even able to have the women’s basketball team join in on the fun by having players serve as team coaches. Both schools hope the activities this fall will kickstart their normal Unified basketball weekly leagues later this winter.
Inspired by other unified activities going on, the UofL School of Medicine was looking for a Unified experience specifically for their students and created their first Unified Cornhole tournament. The tournament was held on the medical school campus and gave medical students the chance to pair up with an athlete to compete in a ten-team double elimination bracket. The tournament was held in a fall festival environment that included various activities such as a bake off and pumpkin decorating contest. The first event of its kind on the medical school campus, the school hopes to make it an annual event.
Having only participated in virtual Unified esports events last year, Eastern Kentucky University was finally able to offer an in person event on campus. EKU hosted a Unified flag football event, which spanned two nights and culminated with the championship game held at Roy Kidd stadium. The event provided 13 athletes and 17 EKU students the chance to finally partner up beyond the virtual world. A trailblazer in the world of Unified esports, EKU also continued their esport activities by hosting a national Rocket League tournament — one of only two universities to partner with SONA to offer a tournament. The competition included two teams from EKU facing off with other collegiate based teams from Utah and Michigan.
The amazing support and engagement of our university partners has led to several national level opportunities for SOKY college based Unified teams. The upcoming USA Games are the latest example of such opportunities. UofL is set to send a Unified basketball team to compete in the college division at the Games and EKU will look to enter a Unified team of three in a virtual Rocket League tournament held in conjunction with the Games. Participation in these types of national events would not be possible without our universities going the extra mile to include SOKY athletes in campus recreation each year.