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Students Adopt-a-Team for Southern Conference Tournament
Students Adopt-a-Team for Southern Conference Tournament
Posted on 03/04/2021
The SoCon basketball tournament tips off this year with virtual cheering from Buncombe County students. basketball tournament tips-off without spectators on Thursday, March 4, but that's not stopping Buncombe students from cheering on their teams!

By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

The Southern Conference Basketball Championships tipped off without spectators on Thursday, March 4, but that's not stopping Buncombe students from cheering on their teams!

This year, ten Buncombe County schools - one for each Southern Conference team - adopted a university to cheer on throughout the March 4-8 event. Organized through each school's physical education (PE) program, students and teachers teamed up to make signs and recorded themselves chanting and cheering. The video clips will be played on screens at Harrah's Cherokee Center throughout the tournament for both men's and women's matchups, giving athletes a virtual fan experience and letting them know their supporters are not far away. Additionally, PE teachers are organizing basketball-themed games and lessons in their classes this month, encouraging health and exercise with a fun March Madness twist.

At Enka Intermediate School, PE students will be checking in on Mercer University's progress throughout the tournament.

"When I told [students] we had the opportunity to adopt the Mercer Bears and be up on the screen, they got so excited," said Enka Intermediate PE teacher Katherine Thomas. "They wore their orange and black, we talked about where the university was and the team's record this year, and they just appreciated being a part." 

After hearing about the students' efforts, some Southern Conference teams have already made plans to reach out to the schools. For example, Western Carolina University Coach Kiley Hill sent a special video message this week to the students at Johnston Elementary.

"We are so jacked that you've adopted us for this year, and we're excited to see you guys very, very soon," Hill said to the students.

During the tournament, three BCS high school JROTC units will virtually introduce games through formal Presentation of Colors videos, accompanied by student musicians. The groups include A.C. Reynolds High's Army JROTC and Chorale, Enka High's Air Force JROTC and Wind Ensemble, and T.C. Roberson High's Air Force JROTC and Chamber Choir. The virtual JROTC presentations were produced by the BCS Communications Dept.

In past years, third through eighth grade BCS students have attended games during the Southern Conference's Education Days, often as a reward for positive decision-making in school. Last year, just prior to the pandemic, nearly 2,900 BCS students and chaperones attended the games at Harrah's, and several arts programs and clubs performed during breaks.

The 2021 women's Southern Conference tournament runs March 4-7, and the men's tournament runs March 5-8.

Special thanks to the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, Harrah's Cherokee Center Asheville, and the Southern Conference for their role in involving students in this tradition during this unusual year.

Southern Conference Basketball, 2021 BCS Adopt-a-Team

Chattanooga Mocs, West Buncombe Elementary
The Citadel Bulldogs, Haw Creek Elementary
East Tennessee State Buccaneers, Avery’s Creek Elementary
Furman Paladins, Emma Elementary
Mercer Bears, Enka Intermediate
Samford Bulldogs, Candler Elementary
UNC Greensboro Spartans, Leicester Elementary
Virginia Military Institute Keydets, Black Mountain Elementary
Western Carolina Catamounts, Johnston Elementary
Wofford Terriers, North Buncombe Elementary

Teams were adopted on a first-come first-served basis.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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