For the fourth straight year, the mentoring group for the Lady Lions’ basketball program will host a scholarship fundraiser where participants can go “Bunko for Basketball” and maybe even win a scooter. Food, drink and noisemakers promise to make the dice game Bunko quite lively.
The annual event is hosted by PRIDE, Positive Role Model Involved in the Development of Excellence, a varied group of women who serve as cheerleaders, role models and mentors to Lady Lion players. Bunko for Basketball is the major fundraiser for the group’s fifth-year aid scholarship, which allows former Lady Lion players finish college classes if they’ve exhausted their NCAA eligibility.
“We try to provide the same experience for our student athletes once they’re done playing until they graduate,” head coach Lori Davis Jones said. “We’re raising the money to pay for their room, their board, their tuition and course-related fees.”
Bunko for Basketball will be Saturday, May 7, at 7 p.m. in Twelve Oaks.
Head coach Lori Davis Jones formed the group in 2006 to fulfill a need she saw back in her playing days on campus. She felt players needed someone to turn to for life guidance and, most importantly, someone who would just listen. Now, PRIDE has expanded from just mentoring to ensuring athletes have the financial means to finish college.
“What PRIDE has allowed us to do here is create an opportunity to know that when we recruit a freshman we can look that athlete and her parents in the eye and tell them we have the vehicle right now by which your child will graduate as long as she does everything she’s supposed to,” Jones said.
Four former Lady Lion players have taken advantage of the scholarship to finish their collegiate studies: Brooke Necaise, Adonna Weaver, Bethany Sinclair and Zevy Ivory.
“So far,” Jones said, “every female athlete who hasn’t graduated has done everything she needs to be eligible for the PRIDE scholarship.”
Tickets for the event are $30 and may be purchased from PRIDE members or by calling (985) 345-8133. More information is available online at LionSports.net. They also will be selling $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a cream –colored Cali Classic 50 scooter from Big Easy Scooters and Cycles of New Orleans.
“We just wanted to be able to see them through to graduation,” Jones said. “We didn’t want anybody to lose the opportunity to be a Southeastern graduate because they fell 15 hours short.”
“It’s based off what each student athlete needs left to graduate. Some only need a semester or summer school. Others have had to come in for a full year, a fall and spring semester. Usually if they’ve done everything they were supposed to do to stay on track then they will be able to receive a PRIDE scholarship.
“We’re very unique with the avenue by which we promote our fifth-year aid and see our kids through to graduation. There’s never anything sure these days in higher education budgets.