SPRINGFIELD, Mass – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the field of teams for the first-ever Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, a college basketball tournament held in conjunction with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sport Changes Life, Rory McIlroy’s Foundation, the Rory Foundation, and The SSE Arena, Belfast. The two-day tournament held on December 1 and 2, will feature Holy Cross vs. Manhattan College and La Salle University vs. Towson University, followed by consolation and championship play on the second day.
As previously announced, the Basketball Hall of Fame has partnered with Sport Changes Life, a registered UK charity and US nonprofit organization that works in disadvantaged communities to help young people find a path to a brighter future with the help of international student-athletes. The Basketball Hall of Fame, in combination with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, aims to support this cause by extending their reach across the Atlantic. Rory McIlroy and his Foundation will also join the cause. In addition, Aer Lingus will be the official airline carrier of the tournament.
“Teaming up with Sport Changes Life provides an excellent opportunity for these collegiate athletes to compete abroad while learning about another culture and making a positive impact in the lives of local youth,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame”
“This is an historic event for everyone involved and Sport Changes Life are delighted to be in partnership with the Basketball Hall of Fame and our friends at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to bring this level of basketball to the island of Ireland. Our journey began in Sport Changes Life with our founding partners Ulster University and Chaka Travel. Through this prestigious event we are certain that we will inspire generations of young people in our quest to help change lives through sport.” said Sport Changes Life CEO Gareth Maguire
In addition to the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, a series of ongoing community relations events and initiatives will be held in the Belfast vicinity. Formal announcements surrounding specific events and ticket information will come at a later date.
“The MAAC values the relationships it has developed with the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Sports Changes Life Foundation. Both groups have missions that the MAAC membership strongly supports and has driven the league’s involvement with their activities here in America and in Northern Ireland. It was natural progression to bring the two groups together and develop a basketball tournament that would highlight the positive academic and athletic activities of the partners, and I want to thank Manhattan College for agreeing to be the first MAAC team to play in the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.” – Rich, Ensor, MAAC Commissioner
“The Hall of Fame Belfast Classic will feature a strong field and the games will provide our program with a tremendous challenge next season. We are excited to participate in this event, and to provide our student-athletes with the educational experience of traveling abroad.” – Bill Carmody, Holy Cross