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NCAA: At Least 24 Schools Playing to Aid Disaster Relief

The NCAA says at least two dozen Division I basketball programs are taking advantage of a waiver that allows teams to play an extra exhibition game if the proceeds go to disaster relief.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told The Associated Press via email that the governing body is aware of 24 programs that have elected to take part in one of the games. Many of the games are benefiting people affected by recent hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, while at least one is helping people affected by the California wildfires and the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Osburn said she expects about 15 more games to be scheduled in the coming weeks. She says the NCAA approves the games on a case-by-case basis.

The most high-profile game scheduled so far is between rivals Kansas and Missouri, which are playing at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Sunday. In that arrangement, each school will distribute about half of the 18,000 tickets with a goal to raise more than $1 million for various charities.

Mississippi State announced on Wednesday that it will host a game against Nebraska on Sunday. Proceeds will go to those affected by Hurricane Irma. Admission to the game is free, but the MSU Student Relief Fund and the Salvation Army will be taking donations.

Among the other schools taking part in the extra exhibition games: Tulane, LSU, Kansas State, Marquette, UConn, Creighton, Notre Dame, Baylor and Houston.

Osburn said she expects NCAA members will likely consider legislative changes to allow more flexibility for schools and conferences to support relief efforts without getting a waiver. The NCAA sent out a release in September encouraging schools to aid in relief efforts and said the governing body’s staff “stands ready to assist with interpretations and waiver requests and will provide flexibility when appropriate.”

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