Since 1972, councils have sponsored the Knights of Columbus International Free Throw Championship for boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14. The championship is set up to have the contestants compete within their own gender and age group. All competition starts at the local level. Winners move on to the district, regional, and state or provincial levels. From there, some make it to the international level for championship competition in their group.
To sponsor a competition, all your council needs is the Free Throw Championship Kit (#FT-KIT), a couple of basketballs, a hoop and a bunch of kids. It is a great way to get out into the public and introduce the Order to your community — while providing youths with a rewarding activity that yields a chance for local, state or provincial, and international recognition.
Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Penn., a former collegiate basketball player at Princeton University, is a strong supporter of the Free Throw Championship. He sees the focus and discipline required to achieve athletic excellence as being valuable in the faith formation and character development of young people. In addition, healthy competition helps young people to handle both good fortune and adversity with grace and dignity.
Start planning now to get your free throw contest off to a running start.
The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship program is a great way to provide entertainment and enjoyment for the young people in your community. To start planning, there are steps that you should keep in mind:
- Order the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship Kit (#FT-KIT) using this order form. You can also use the order form in the Council Report Forms Booklet (#1436), or call the Department of Fraternal Services at 203-752-4270.
- Schedule a date and location for the event. Contact schools, community centers and youth centers to reserve a basketball court. January is recommended for council competitions, February for district competitions, and March/April for regional and state championships.
- Sign ‘em up! Your Free Throw Championship Kit contains posters announcing the contest. Obtain permission to display them in schools, youth and community centers, and church vestibules. Make sure that entry forms/score sheets (#1598) are also available at these locations. Pre-register contestants whenever possible.
- Enlist help from schools. Ask school superintendents, principals and athletic directors to promote your championship.
- See if schools will hold preliminary competitions as part of their intramural or physical education programs. High school athletes should be reminded to check with their state high school athletic association about possible eligibility conflicts. Don’t forget to contact and invite the recreational and youth basketball programs in your community.
- Build public interest. Use the sample press release in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship Rules, Regulations, Tips and Information Guide (#1928) to announce your championship. Retype the release on council letterhead, giving the details of your championship. Deliver or send it, along with clip art logos, to the editors of both local news and sports sections.
- After the competition, be sure to send out a press release announcing the winners. When sending press releases to radio or television stations always use the program’s official name: “Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship.”
- Be sure to send in the Participation Report Form (FT-1). This form provides the Supreme Council with informational statistics, which enables the contest to continue to be a success.
Extra Steps to Ensure Success
When conducting the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship, taking a few extra steps can make the difference between a mediocre event and a great community project. Although the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship seems simple to conduct, here are a few details to ensure success:
- If possible, get approval from the superintendent of schools to promote the program. Make a presentation to local physical education teachers to gain their support for the program.
- Ask local businesses to show their support with donations of food, soda, paper plates, napkins, etc. in exchange for publicity at the event and in related press releases.
- Award a trophy to the school with the highest percentage of students participating.
- Present other awards such as “Motivator of the Year” to the teacher selected by his or her peers as the embodiment of the principles of participation; a “School Spirit” to the school that exemplified enthusiasm and sportsmanship throughout the competition; and “Sponsor of the Year” to a business that made a serious commitment to the competition.
- Sponsor a pancake breakfast or similar event for all school district level competitors. Who May Enter
All boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14 are eligible to compete in the Free Throw Championship. Age eligibility is determined by the age of the contestant as of January 1. High school-age athletes should be advised to check with their school athletic directors or their state’s high school athletic association regarding possible eligibility conflicts.
Each youngster may compete in only one council competition. Local champions may not represent more than one council.
Championship entrants compete against youngsters of the same age and gender in six age divisions: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. At the council level, each competitor gets 15 free throws, and the one who makes the most shots wins. If there’s a tie, five-shot tiebreaker rounds follow until a winner emerges. Use a tiebreaker if there is a tie for second place; the second place finisher will move on to successive levels of competition if, for whatever reason, the winner is unavailable. In the event that the winner in any level cannot participate in the next level of competition, the second place winner should represent the area group.
All contestants must register using the official K of C Free Throw Championship Entry Form/Score Sheet (#1598). All entry forms/score sheets must include a parent’s signature. Proof of age must accompany all registration forms and should be verified at all levels. The entry form/score sheet also contains spaces to record the contestants’ scores. This form must accompany each champion as he or she progresses through the competition.
The State Free Throw Competition will take place on Saturday, March 19, 2016 one in Northern California and one in Southern California. Locations: North – Vacaville, South – Rancho San Antionio