BSAG and SAAC Celebrate Black History Month with basketball Tournament Fundraiser


Courtesy of Maggie Balderstone

The Black Student-Athlete Group and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee put on its first-ever Black History Month basketball tournament on Sunday.

Last Sunday, Oberlin’s Black Student-Athlete Group and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee worked in conjunction to host a Black History Month basketball tournament. The tournament raised money for Black Girls Smile, a nonprofit aimed at providing mental health resources and support to young Black women.

Participants were split into 16 teams and competed in the five-on-five single-elimination tournament in Philips gym. The tournament was open to all students, and BSAG and SACC encouraged the teams to be coed. To keep the competition fair, the organizers only allowed two varsity basketball players on each team. 

According to second-year Alyson Jefferson, the BSAG and SAAC representative who organized the event, evenly distributing the varsity athletes kept the tournament fun and inclusive.

“It wasn’t only for already-known athletes on campus,” Jefferson said. “We also got the rest of Oberlin kids involved. The teams that came out — they weren’t only varsity basketball or varsity baseball. … It was people who you never would’ve thought wanted to play basketball.” 

Each team was encouraged to donate to Black Girls Smile. Jefferson said that BSAG chose this organization from a list of nonprofits that align with BSAG’s mission statement and support Black people. The Atlanta-based organization provides mental health education and resources to young Black women with the goal of making them feel supported. Overall, the tournament raised $435 for Black Girls Smile. 

Second-year Taylor Gwynne, the SAAC secretary, also helped organize the event. She said that the tournament was a lot of work, but it turned out to be a huge success. 

“It was really competitive,” Gwynne said. “There were a lot of people that came, and it was a lot of fun to watch.” 

The tournament took place through Sunday morning and afternoon. After eight initial games, four quarter-final games, and two semi-finals, two remaining undefeated teams were set to face off in the finals, The Avengers and The Tallest Team. The Tallest Team took home the championship, walking away with the grand prize of new Oberlin College Crocs. 

Jefferson said that the tournament was popular enough for them to continue the tradition in the future. She noted that after hosting the tournament, there were some things that she would like to consider for next year. 

“Initially planning it, we weren’t really sure what to expect, but after going through it … there were just so many things we could do,” Jefferson said. “We could have half-time games, or we could get shirts.”

Gwynne has ideas for potential improvements as well. 

“I think it would be really cool for the next tournament to have a place to donate at the door for spectators who are coming to watch, or encourage teams to donate even more,” she said. 

SAAC and BSAG plan on hosting similar events later in the semester. They are still accepting donations for Black Girls Smile and students can donate by sending a Venmo to @OCAthletics with the memo line “Black Girls Smile.” Students can also donate directly to Black Girls Smile  through their website