Friday Features: ENC's Unified Basketball Series Wins NCAA Special Olympics Spotlight Poll

Friday Features: ENC's Unified Basketball Series Wins NCAA Special Olympics Spotlight Poll


MANSFIELD, Mass. - The NCAA recently announced that Eastern Nazarene College was the winner of its July Special Olympics Spotlight Poll. The Lions were nominated for their Unified Basketball Games on campus, which they hosted during the 2019-20 academic year. 

ENC, which earned an impressive 77-percent of the overall vote (350-453), will receive $500 from the NCAA to be devoted towards a future Special Olympics activity. Other perks for winning include being recognized in the NCAA Division III Monthly Newsletter and on all NCAA Division III social media channels.

"It's awesome to have another NECC member earn this honor," said NECC Commissioner Jacob VanRyn. "Earlier this year, Mitchell College earned this prestigious honor and Becker College was a finalist. We continue to be extremely proud of the commitment our conference's student-athletes have shown in the Division's partnership with Special Olympics. It's extremely important to us."

Mitchell earned the award in March as a result of their Basketball Jamboree which they held during the year. 

The NCAA Division III Special Olympics Spotlight Poll is a story-telling initiative located on It features three news stories and or videos per month – each highlighting an NCAA Division III instiution and Special Olympics joint activity or event. Fans are then allowed to vote for one of the three stories to determine the winner for the month.

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.

The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 16 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sport. Bay Path University, Becker College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College are the conference’s current members. For more information, please visit