Northwestern Mutual, an official corporate partner of the NCAA®, announced today it has donated parts of the basketball court used at the national championship of the 2012 NCAA® Division I men's basketball tournament to the University of Kentucky (UK) and to raise funds for charities located in Kentucky.
The UK men’s basketball team won its eighth national championship earlier this year and will soon have a new locker room in Rupp Arena. More than 3,000 square feet of the floor will be installed this week in the locker rooms currently undergoing major renovation, putting a tangible reminder of the team’s championship season literally under foot for Wildcat players as they prepare for games beginning this fall.
Additionally, a portion of the floor will be divided into one thousand souvenir pieces and signed by UK Coach John Calipari. Northwestern Mutual will auction a portion of these signed pieces to benefit Kentucky-based nonprofits. A significant number will go towards Northwestern Mutual’s philanthropic focus to fight against pediatric cancer. In addition, some of the pieces will be donated to The Calipari Foundation.
Through Northwestern Mutual’s corporate partnership with the NCAA, the company had an opportunity to utilize the floor following the men’s basketball tournament. It was purchased with the intent to create philanthropic opportunities in local communities that Northwestern Mutual serves.
“Northwestern Mutual’s donation of the championship floor is an all-around win,” said Conrad York, vice president of marketing. “We are able to bring a portion of the floor to the national champion Wildcats, but more importantly, it provides an exclusive way to support pediatric cancer and give hope to many families that are currently experiencing this disease.”
The iconic center court Final Four® logo section will be on display for fans to view in the High Street lobby of the arena this week before it is placed in the locker rooms.
“We owe a big thanks to Northwestern Mutual for making this contribution happen,” Calipari said. “Adding the championship floor to Rupp Arena will further contribute to the magic surrounding this building and this program. It will not only enhance what will be the gold standard for locker rooms across the country, it will serve as a fitting tribute to a special team.”
Further details of the charity auctions will be released by Northwestern Mutual later this fall.
NCAA is a trademark of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.