It takes a mission as strong as the Special Olympics Play Unified movement to mend a rivalry as deep as the divide between Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi, if only for one day.
Special Olympics Mississippi will unify the schools and the state with the third Unified Egg Bowl on Mon., Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the MSU RecPlex intramural fields on South Stone Boulevard in Starkville. Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities will play flag football on teams alongside traditional college students from MSU and Ole Miss.
“With the Unified Egg Bowl, we aim to foster interaction and inclusion for our athletes, and understanding about intellectual disabilities,” said Jim Beaugez, director of public relations at Special Olympics Mississippi. “It’s a great way for our athletes to have fun while showing the world that Mississippi is unified in support of Special Olympics.”
Fans of both schools can use this opportunity to donate directly to benefit the athletes and programs of Special Olympics Mississippi in support of the unified MSU and Ole Miss teams. MSU currently leads Ole Miss in donations, $3,550 to $2,250, while Ole Miss leads the game series 2-0. During its first two years, sponsors and fans of Ole Miss and MSU raised more than $15,000 to support Special Olympics Mississippi programs and athletes.
The Unified Egg Bowl festivities will begin with a fan tailgate at 5 p.m., followed by kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Newly named MSU Athletic Director John Cohen will participate in the event, alongside a pep squad from the school’s Famous Maroon Band, spirit squads and more. Students at both schools are involved in organizing and promoting the event through the SO College program, which encourages students to take leadership roles in carrying out the Special Olympics mission.
Special Olympics Mississippi became one of the first pilot programs after Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver visited Ellisville State School in Jones County in 1968, and was officially incorporated and recognized by the state in August 1975.
Today, Special Olympics Mississippi serves more than 4,000 athletes through a network of 17 multi-county areas and thousands of volunteers. Athletes compete locally at more than 50 events across the state, then statewide at the annual Summer Games and Fall Games. Athletes can then advance to the national and international levels of competition.
About Special Olympics Mississippi
Chartered in 1975, the mission of the Mississippi Chapter of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics Athletes and their communities. For more information, please visit us at www.specialolympicsms.org.