SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri Southern State University has received word from Missouri State University Director of Athletics Kyle Moats on Friday the University has received a waiver from the NCAA to play a men's basketball exhibition game at Southern on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The game is the second Division I exhibition game to be played in Joplin this season as the Lions announced a game with the University of Missouri last week.
NCAA regulations prohibit Division I programs from playing on the road for preseason exhibitions. However, the game at Leggett and Platt Athletic Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University 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 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 is an NCAA Division II program that competes in the 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 and again in an exhibition game in 2005. The Lions were 26-5 this past season and advanced to the NCAA Division II round of 32.