SVSU hosted the 10th annual Pros vs. Joes event on Tuesday, April 18.
In the basketball fundraiser, the “Pros” team, comprised of members of SVSU men’s and women’s basketball teams, plays against the “Joes” team, comprised of SVSU faculty and staff.
The Pros vs. Joes event is a fundraiser to raise funds for scholarships in honor of former SVSU student Abou Traore. Traore was a pre-med student who died in a drowning accident in 2007. He attended SVSU for two years before the accident.
Head men’s basketball coach Randy Baruth said the two athletic programs benefit from an event like Pros vs. Joes.
“We take great pride in playing in the Pros vs. Joes,” he said. “Each year, (our players) always talk about how much fun it is for days to follow. We are glad we can give back to such a good cause. Thank you to those who organized the event and for inviting our program.”
The event was put on entirely by volunteers, and Executive Director of Alumni Relations Jim Dwyer and Campus Recreation Director Aaron Mowen refereed the game.
The game started with the Senegalese national anthem, in honor of Traore’s home country, followed by America’s National Anthem performed by ENCORE.
The Joes won the tip off, running down the court to dunk on a small hoop brought out just for the occasion. The event aimed to engage the audience comically so that they would be involved and motivated to donate.
The game raised money in various ways, including players being sent to a penalty couch, where they remained until enough money was donated to get them back in the game. The scorekeepers also took bribes to raise or lower a team’s score.
“This year, the event raised nearly $1,200,” said Residential Life Director Michele Gunkleman. “It’s an event that brings the community together in a really positive way.”
The raffle was a large part of the event. Attendees could purchase tickets with the opportunity to win gift cards, food vouchers, a hammock, or other prizes. Raffle winners were announced throughout the game.
At halftime, this year’s scholarship recipients were announced. This year, the Abou Traore Scholarship was given to two students – Nana Kofi Yeboah and Pratima Gurung. Both students received $1,450 each for the 2017-2018 academic year.
The Korean Culture Club performed during halftime and encouraged students to participate with shouts. There was a game of lightning or knock-out played toward the end of the game. People who wished to participate had to donate $5 to the scholarship fund, and the winner was the recipient of Cedar Point tickets.
With nine minutes left in the game, there was $100 donated to drop the Joes score down to 1, making the score 71-1. But by the end of the event, the score was tied 85-85 thanks to the added points from donations.
Local businesses sponsored the event including the Cardinal Deli, Dogg Houze, SVSU Housing, JR’s Haircuts for Men, SVSU Dining Services, New Kitchen, Common Grind, Cardinal’s Nest Tavern, Independent Bank, Logan’s, and the SVSU President’s Office.