Special Olympics Ohio logo

AU partnering with Special Olympics Ohio, Cavs Academy to host unique basketball clinic

Published on March 16, 2023
College of Business and Economics

ASHLAND, Ohio – Special Olympics Ohio Unified Champion Schools® (UCS) and Ashland University, in collaboration with the department of recreation and wellness and the Dauch College of Business and Economics at AU, have partnered to host a basketball skills clinic featuring staff from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cavs Academy Camps & Clinics on Wednesday, March 22, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Arthur L. and Maxine Sheets Rybolt Health Sciences and Recreation Center.

This marks the first time a private university in the state has worked with the Cavaliers’ Cavs Academy and Special Olympics Ohio UCS on such an event.

The clinic, which is free and open to the public, has been in the works for several months, noted Bri Sumser, manager of UCS (northwest region). “This whole event wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Dr. Lance Kaltenbaugh (associate professor of sport management) and Janel Molnar (director of recreation and wellness). They were both open and on board with this idea when first proposed it back in the fall,” she said.

The goal is to bring students with and without disabilities together and engage in a day of sports, as well as to educate teachers and administrators of new ways to bring these various opportunities to their own schools and grow inclusion within their student body.

Youth sports coaches and students from various schools in Ashland, Holmes and Wayne counties are expected to fill AU’s Recreation Center where stations will be set up for basketball skills, fitness and wellness screenings and a sensory component. More than 200 students and dozens of teachers/administrators are expected, including teams from Taft Intermediate and Edison and Reagan Elementary within the Ashland City School District. Assisting on the day of the event will be approximately 60 AU student, faculty and staff volunteers.

Sumser said, “To see 10 new schools attend this event, some even in AU’s backyard, is truly something special for not only our programming, but the community of Ashland too. With this being the first event of its kind, we hope to use it as the model for other Ohio colleges and universities to go all-in for inclusion in their own campus communities.”

Representatives from AU’s sports management program and others within the Dauch College of Business and Economics, as well as members of fraternity and sorority life, will be running the various stations and serving lunch. Students and staff members at AU who are interested in volunteering for this event should contact Sam Coon at

Special Olympics Ohio Unified Champion Schools® bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote acceptance, respect and human dignity.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.