Missouri hoops helping in Joplin tornado relief efforts

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Missouri’s doing its part to assist in the relief effort for Joplin, Mo., residents affected by Sunday’s devastating tornado.

The athletic department is selling “One State. One Spirit. One Mizzou” t-shirts, with all the proceeds going to the United Way’s United for Joplin campaign. More than 1,200 of the $14.95 shirts were sold in the first four hours, and 3,500 were sold on the first day. Donation bins to collect children’s food, sanitary items and stuffed animals have been placed around the Hearnes Center, which hoops coach Frank Haith will drive to Joplin on Thursday.

Haith doesn’t want to stop there, either. He wants to schedule a benefit exhibition game between the Tigers and D-II school Missouri Southern that would be played at Southern’s Young Gymnasium, which has been serving as a temporary Red Cross Shelter.

“It’s very, very early in the process,” said Dave Reiter, Missouri’s media-relations director, told the Kansas City Star. “We’ve talked about it as a fund-raiser.”

Missouri must get OK from the NCAA to play the game. Schools are only allowed two exhibition games, and Missouri’s already scheduled both for the 2011-12 season. But how can the NCAA refuse this worthy cause?.

“The images of the destruction in Joplin are absolutely devastating,” Haith said in a release. “But at the same time, the sight of neighbor helping neighbor serves as inspiration for us all. We can’t change what happened on Sunday night, but if we can make life a little easier, you better believe we are going to try and do it.”

For more on how to help residents of Joplin, click here.

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