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TCU fans show support for Special Olympics Indiana after venue change

After Indiana State had to pass on hosting this weekend's Super Regional, fans of their opponent are sharing the love with a great cause.

INDIANAPOLIS — Sports are once again showing the power of bringing people together, this time in western Indiana.

When TCU defeated Arkansas Monday in the NCAA baseball tournament, the Horned Frogs appeared headed to Terre Haute to face the Indiana State Sycamores. But shortly after the celebration died down, Indiana State announced they wouldn't be able to hold games at ISU's Bob Warn Field. 

The conflict was due, in part, to Special Olympics Indiana's State Summer Games, which are scheduled to take place for the 51st year in Terre Haute. Participants in the Games and their supporters have filled most of the hotel rooms near campus and the university said staffing the Super Regional series with TCU would be difficult. 

Due to those factors and others, the Sycamores will hit the road for the next round of the tournament, playing in TCU's home stadium in Fort Worth. 

Within an hour of Indiana State's announcement, the hosts of a TCU podcast came up with an idea to help.

"Nothing can replace hosting a super regional, but we sure can help support our next foes in a different way," the hosts of the "Postgame Beers Podcast" tweeted, encouraging fellow Horned Frog fans to donate to Special Olympics Indiana. 

Within an hour-and-a-half, the hosts announced they had received word of at least 90 donations as Twitter users shared screenshots of their receipts in a rapidly growing thread. 

The donations weren't limited to TCU fans, either. Fans of rival Texas and other schools mentioned their contributions, as well as some fans of the Sycamores. 

On Wednesday, Special Olympics Indiana told 13News donations from fans across the country had topped $30,000, which will allow the organization to continue to provide competition and leadership opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities in Indiana. 

The donations haven't been limited to fans in Texas and Indiana. Special Olympics Indiana said over 500 donations have come in from at least 36 states.

"We’re happy for the Indiana State University’s baseball team’s postseason success. Special Olympics Indiana is proud to partner with ISU, and we wish the baseball team the best of luck in this weekend’s Super Regional," Special Olympics Indiana said in a statement.

The Super Regional series will start Friday, June 9 in Fort Worth.

No matter which team wins the best-of-3 series and earns a trip to the College World Series, Special Olympics Indiana CEO Jeff Mohler told 13News the show of generosity demonstrates the power of great sportsmanship.

"Sports at its truest. The most fundamental part of our society is for the betterment of who we are as individuals and this is a testimony to that, what sports could and should be," Mohler said Tuesday. "It is more than competition, although we do like to keep score, obviously the scoreboard is on, but we can all be better for it, if we live it in the right spirit."

Summer Olympics Indiana Summer Games

More than 2,100 athletes are expected to compete in the Summer Games this weekend. The Games are made up of seven Olympic-style events, including bocce, bowling, cycling, powerlifting, swimming, track and field and volleyball.

The opening ceremonies will be held Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at the Hulman Center on the Indiana State University campus. In addition to a parade of athletes and the lighting of the Summer Games cauldron, Olympic gold medalist David Boudia from Noblesville will participate.

The Games run through Sunday, June 11.

Events and activities during the Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games are free and open to the public. 

The organization is also still looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the Games. Potential volunteers can visit SOIndiana.org for more information or register on site.

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