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AU to host first intercollegiate wheelchair basketball tourney

Ten wheelchair basketball teams will take the court at Auburn University Friday and Saturday for Auburn’s first intercollegiate wheelchair basketball tournament.

Men’s and women’s teams from the University of Missouri, the University of Illinois, the University of Texas-Arlington, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Alabama will play in one of the largest wheelchair basketball tournaments, with all but two of the intercollegiate division’s eight teams attending, said Office of Accessibility Disability Specialist Nathan Waters.

“They are few and far between,” Waters said. “There are not a lot of them out there.”

Auburn’s team formed in 2009 and played in its first tournament the following year. The team has competed around the country and is a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Intercollegiate Division.

Players practice five times a week, often at 6 a.m. And while most of the players are university students, a few community players still fill the ranks.

“One day, we’ll have all student athletes on the team,” Waters said.

Auburn’s wheelchair basketball team is under the Office of Accessibility, but some teams are included in their universities' athletic or recreation and wellness departments.

This week’s tournament is free and open to the public. Most games will be played in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, with some in the university’s adjacent Recreation and Wellness Center.

Auburn’s rivalry game against Alabama will take place just before Auburn’s men’s basketball team tips off against Oklahoma State Saturday.

For more information on Auburn’s wheelchair basketball team, visit website.

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