With the 2015 Final Four basketball tournament in Indianapolis just a week away, a new display in the lobby of the NCAA national office features a special exhibition close to us at Mount St. Joseph University.
A wall is covered with nearly 1,300 member and conference logos across all three divisions. The other is adorned with more than 400 images from NCAA photos celebrating college athletes in all they do both on the field and off. Among them are eight shadow boxes highlighting moments and attributes that make college sports special. Shadow box content will be rotated periodically.
Lauren Hill’s #22 jersey is on display along with some other well-known stories, along with her own.
- Missy Franklin became the face of American swimming when, at 16, she won four gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. But she put her pro career on hold to taste life as a college swimmer at the University of California, Berkeley, where the chance to compete and win as a team was irreplaceable.
- Kaneisha Atwater didn’t have only suitcases in tow when she arrived at college—she also carried the burdens and blessings of motherhood. She now balances roles as a star basketball player and a mom, all while working to earn the college degree that will help her give her son a better future.
- Brady Antaya, 7, loves books, soccer and the Merrimack Warriors. The college partners with Team IMPACT, which pairs chronically ill children like Brady with teams that help keep their minds off all the doctor visits. Brady wears the No. 1 jersey as a “member” of the Merrimack men’s soccer team.
- Alabama swimmer John Servati sacrificed himself to save another when tornadoes touched down on April 28, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Servati, the 2015 NCAA Award of Valor winner, relied on the strength and selflessness he displayed throughout his life to lift a wall that had collapsed on him and a friend, freeing her before losing his own life.
- Academic standout. Community servant. Team Leader. All of these terms describe recent Notre Dame graduate and soccer player Elizabeth Tucker, the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year. Tucker says she had plenty of help along the way. “I learned it by watching all the wonderful women in my life.”
- New Mexico’s Kendall Spencer, a former national track and field champion in the long jump, now has a very different role: Recent reforms give college athletes representation at the highest level of decision-making at the NCAA, and Spencer is now their voice on the Division I Board of Directors.
- Rivals? Sure, but when Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett suffered a broken ankle, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner knelt beside his fallen foe and consoled him. The “sportsmanlike and true humanity” will long be remembered, an Ohio State administrator wrote to the Michigan QB.
- When Lauren Hill was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, her health waned, but not her will. The NCAA approved an early season opener for Mount St. Joseph University so the freshman could complete in her first college basketball game. Just 10 seconds in, she made a layup that secured her legacy. Hill scored the opening points of this college basketball season, but more importantly has raised awareness and funds for pediatric brain cancer.
The building lobby is open to the public when the office is open. The Hall of Champions museum is located in a separate building at NCAA headquarters.