Special Olympics

DIII Special Olympics Profile: Eric Panetta

Eric Panetta loves to crush it on the basketball court and the soccer field in front of roaring crowds. Since 2013, Panetta has participated as a Special Olympics New Jersey athlete with Rowan University’s Special Olympics Unified Sports intramural leagues.

DIII Special Olympics profile: Cassandra Contigiani

When Cassandra Contigiani was a freshman in high school, she witnessed her first Special Olympics unified event at the New Hampshire high school girls soccer tournament.

NCAA Division III 50 for 50th Special Olympics Challenge Results

Special Olympics celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2018. In honor of this occasion, DIII SAAC challenged all Division III institutions to have at least 50 student-athletes participate in one or more Special Olympics events between August 2018 and April 2019. The results are in and Division III SAAC could not be prouder of its student-athletes, institutions and conferences.

As of April 30, 2019, 53 institutions reported completing the 50 for 50th Special Olympics Challenge. Those institutions are:

  • Allegheny College
  • Beck College
  • Bryn Athyn College
  • Carthage College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Catholic University
  • Concordia University Chicago
  • Denison University
  • DeSales University (DeSales)
  • Eastern Nazarene College
  • Elizabethtown College
  • Emory University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham
  • Geneva College
  • Goucher College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hamline University
  • Haverford College
  • Hollins University
  • Illinois College
  • Juniata College
  • King's College (Pennsylvania)
  • Lake Forest College
  • Marietta College
  • Marymount University (Virginia)
  • Misericordia University
  • Mitchell College
  • Moravian College
  • Oberlin College
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Olivet College
  • Penn State University Abington
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Shenandoah University
  • Smith College
  • Springfield College
  • St. John's University (Minnesota)
  • St. Norbert College
  • State University of New York at Oswego
  • Susquehanna University (Susquehanna)
  • Thomas College
  • University of Lynchburg
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
  • University of the Ozarks (Arkansas)
  • University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Vassar College
  • Waynesburg University
  • Wells College
  • Wesleyan University (Connecticut)
  • Westminster College (Pennsylvania)
  • Worcester State University

Each of these institutions will receive a token of appreciation from Division III SAAC. Additionally, DeSales, RPI and Susquehanna reported the highest percentage of participation by student-athletes and will face off during the May Spotlight Poll for the grand prize. Please visit the Division III Special Olympics website to vote for your favorite activity.

Division III Conference or Campus Special Olympics Report Form

This form should be completed and submitted by every conference or campus that contributes to the Special Olympics – Division III partnership. The intent of this form is to document the efforts of Division III student-athletes to the...

Division III Championship Manager Special Olympics Report Form

This form should be completed and submitted by every Division III Championship manager that activates the Special Olympics – Division III partnership during the course of a championship event. The intent of this form is to document the...

Wheaton College Earns November Special Olympics Spotlight Award

Wheaton College earned the Division III Special Olympics Spotlight award for November 2014 after pledging to “Spread the Word to End the Word”, a national campaign to end the derogatory use of the "R" word.

Alfred State honored in Special Olympics Spotlight poll

Readers selected a story about track and field ‘spectacular’ hosted at the college.

Special Olympics Partnership

The Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) initiated the partnership at the 2011 NCAA Convention and officially launched the partnership on August 1, 2011.  The purpose of the partnership is to enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services.

Through this partnership, Division III student-athletes across the country are encouraged to participate in existing Special Olympics events, create their own events, or otherwise serve to support Special Olympics organization. The activities pursued by student-athletes will vary in each state and region, tailored to best utilize the student-athletes' time and local resources.  Service activities with Special Olympic athletes range from unified events to sports clinics to bowling as well as pizza parties or fundraising efforts. 

This partnership provides the opportunity for student-athletes to engage with Special Olympics and collaborate with existing student-led programs on campus.  It also serves as another opportunity to demonstrate the citizenship and comprehensive learning attributes of Division III student-athletes. Student-athletes giving back to their local (and often national and international) communities not only adds to the comprehensive learning component of Division III, but also provides a venue for passion and service

DIII and Special Olympics basketball clinic part of 75th Celebration experience

By Kat Krtnick Yesterday was likely the biggest game of their careers. For most, it was probably the first time they competed in an NBA arena, in front of 6,300 fans and on live television. That’s even without the flashing lights and...

The road less traveled

NCAA.org By Kat Krtnick As part of the 75th Celebration of March Madness, for first time in history, the NCAA Divisions I, II and III men’s basketball championships will be played in the same city during the same weekend. The brilliant...


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