LEXINGTON — Former Kentucky star Sean Woods will bring his Southern basketball team to Rupp Arena in December in the first of a five-year series the Wildcats will play against SWAC teams.
The five-game series, dubbed the Unity Series, is designed to promote the historically Black colleges and universities of the SWAC and “raise funds to provide opportunities for students at their institutions.”
“I am really proud of our leadership for identifying an opportunity to take what we do on the basketball court and leverage it into an annual weeklong event that will have a major impact on HBCUs and their students,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a news release. “My hope is this event not only opens the door for opportunities for students at HBCUs, but that others at our school and across the country will take advantage of the educational opportunities that we will put together to continue the meaningful conversations and changes that have taken place over the last year.”
The week before the Unity Series game each season will include “virtual panels and leadership workshops available to students at all institutions that tackle current issues in multiple disciplines and highlight on-campus educational opportunities.”
Southern’s head coach Sean Woods coaches from the sidelines as the Ragin’ Cajuns play against the Southern University Jaguars at the Cajundome on December 1, 2018.
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference is extremely excited to partner with the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program on unifying initiatives that will significantly raise the overall awareness of the missions of our 12 member institutions and HBCUs as a whole,” SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland said in the release. “The educational and networking opportunities this partnership will provide our students and student-athletes undoubtedly goes well beyond the game of basketball. We’re looking forward to doing our part to make this innovative strategic plan a success. We would like to thank the University of Kentucky Athletics department’s leadership along with Coach Calipari and his staff for making this very worthy initiative a reality.”
The first game of the Unity Series will feature Kentucky against Southern on Dec. 7.
Woods, who previously coached against UK at Morehead State and Mississippi Valley State, was a key member of the 1991-92 Kentucky team dubbed the Unforgettables. He led UK in assists in each of his three seasons as a Wildcat.
Kentucky and Southern have met once before in a 99-84 UK in win the 1988 NCAA Tournament that was later vacated by NCAA sanctions imposed upon Kentucky.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky basketball starts series vs. SWAC to promote HBCUs