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Bookstore basketball returns to campus

| Sunday, March 29, 2015

One of Notre Dame’s most storied traditions, Bookstore Basketball, began last weekend March 21.

The world’s largest outdoor five-on-five basketball tournament has been played every year since 1972, and this year’s Bookstore Basketball co-commisioner Patrick Butler said he hopes to continue its legacy with this year’s tournament and a field of roughly 620 teams.

The tournament raises money for a charity called Jumpball, Butler said.

“Jumpball is a non-profit run by Notre Dame alumni in Kingston, Jamaica, and it helps encourage basketball skills in young children who don’t really have much and lack any athletic outlets. This is their only introduction to basketball and coaches,” Butler said.

According to Butler, Jumpball has also expanded to Haiti after successfully running clinics in Jamaica since 1995. However, Butler said many people are unaware of Bookstore Basketball’s charitable purpose.

“A lot of people think it’s just time to have fun and play basketball with your friends, which is exactly what we want people to do, but your donations are going to Haiti, to Kingston and we’ve really tried to publicize that this year,” Butler said

Butler said many prominent members of the Notre Dame community have played in the tournament, including Joe Montana, Lou Holtz and University President Emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy, who played on a team named “All the President’s Men.” However, Butler said Bookstore Basketball remains an excellent opportunity for everyone to get involved in the Notre Dame community.

“The tournament is for everybody. It’s not just for varsity athletes or people who play at Rolfs all the time,” Butler said.

Bookstore Basketball began as part of AnTostal, Notre Dame’s weeklong festival held every spring, Butler said. It used to be played on the roof of the old bookstore which was located near Stepan Center, Butler said. It grew from its origins to include around 700 teams at its zenith and gained the attention of media outlets and people outside of campus.

Butler said examples of the tournament’s prominence include a book devoted to its history, “Look Out for the Manhole Cover,” and frequent coverage from nationally-syndicated sports writer Rick Reilly.

Butler said a variety of students work as volunteers to support Bookstore Basketball, including commissioners who score games and members of the executive board who oversee the rules and regulations of the tournament.

Butler said he encourages students of any class year to apply so the tournament is not run only by upperclassmen.


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