Sunday’s Georgia-Michigan State exhibition men’s basketball game has raised just under $350,000 for the Red Cross. Though the game, which was played at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, was just announced the previous Monday (Oct. 23), tickets sold out in a matter of hours and Sunday’s attendance was 10,699.
The contest came together in less than a week when the NCAA approved a waiver to allow teams to play an extra exhibition game for charitable causes. While Michigan State hosted the event, the two schools will split proceeds equally to donate to chapters of the Red Cross. Georgia’s donation will go to the American Red Cross of Georgia, while Michigan State’s is designated to go to the Red Cross – International Services.
A ceremonial check presentation prior to the game included $339,448.90 as the amount. Head coaches Mark Fox and Tom Izzo and Steve Heacock, chair of the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority, took part in the presentation.
“Coach Izzo and Coach Fox, thank you for allowing Grand Rapids and the VanAndel Arena to host this great game for such wonderful causes,” Heacock said. “The overwhelming response from West Michigan basketball fans allowed us to sell out this arena and contribute to a great cause.”
“I want to just reiterate my thanks to the Michigan State family and the community of Grand Rapids for their support of this game,” Fox said after the game. “Certainly, when you do something for a cause greater than yourself you need help to really make an impact and this couldn’t have happened without Michigan State University and the great support that their fan-base and the city of Grand Rapids provided. I thank you from the bottom of our hearts from the Deep South.”
“This was a unique thing when you can put something of this magnitude together in three days, four days, actually two days in the conception of the final product,” Izzo said. “I want to thank all of the people from Van Andel, but also Grand Rapids people. We had dinner last night and he told our team that life is about giving back. Today we got to be a part of maybe helping some people that we didn’t have as tough of a time as they’ve had.”
CLICK HERE for a recap and video highlights of the Georgia-Michigan State men’s basketball exhibition game.