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Ohio State men’s basketball to face Dayton in charity exhibition game supporting mental health awareness

The two teams will face off in Dayton October 22, with all proceeds going to the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Ohio.

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Dayton Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State and Dayton men’s basketball programs will join forces this fall to raise awareness and money for a cause that hits close to home for both head coaches — adolescent and young adult mental health and suicide prevention.

The University of Dayton announced this afternoon that the Buckeyes and Flyers — who have not played each other since that fateful NCAA Tournament game in 2014 — will meet for an exhibiton game in Dayton, with all proceeds of the event being donated to the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Ohio.

The NCAA waiver-approved charity game will be held Sunday, October 22 at UD Arena, with the game time to be released at a later date. The game will cap off a multi-day community engagement event in Dayton raising awareness and funds for youth mental health and suicide prevention.

The University of Dayton will hold public town halls on October 19-20 where families can attend and “Get help finding and navigating the right mental health care for themselves and their loved ones.” The events will include discussions and presentation from various speakers, including Dayton head coach Anthony Grant. A more detailed agenda and list of speakers will be finalized in the fall, and will include mental health experts, student-athletes, and other members of the university.

Grant, who is going into his seventh season at the helm of the Flyers program, lost his 20-year old daughter Jayda to suicide just over one year ago. Jayda Grant was a two-year member of the women’s track and field team at the University of Dayton, and according to her father “Was in therapy and treatment for mental health challenges in the weeks and months leading up to her death.”

A statement from the University of Dayton:

“Dayton Coach Anthony Grant and his wife Chris strive to bring purpose to the pain from their family’s tragedy by helping mothers, fathers, teens, and young adults find the resources to help.”

“First, I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to Coach (Chris) Holtmann, Athletic Director Gene Smith and the Ohio State community for participating in this special event,” Coach Grant said Thursday. ”They have been incredibly gracious partners and we’re thankful for their participation. More importantly, the game is a collaborative effort to help raise awareness, generate conversation, and increase access to mental health services in Ohio and throughout the country.”

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has been transparent and honest on topics relating to mental health since becoming head coach six years ago. In January of 2020, Ohio State guard D.J. Carton stepped away from the men’s basketball program due to mental health matters, and did not return to the program. He ultimately wound up transferring to Marquette. Holtmann said that he was angered at some people’s “antiquated thinking” when it comes to mental health.”

“We look forward to partnering with Anthony and Dayton on this exhibition game at UD Arena,” Ohio State Coach Chris Holtmann said. ”Anthony’s willingness to share his family’s story in hopes of helping others is inspirational and we appreciate him including Ohio State in this event. We are excited that the proceeds will benefit the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and other local organizations.”

“We talk about it. I see a therapist. We talk about it. It’s real-life stuff.” Holtmann said after an Ohio State home win over Indiana on February 1, 2020. “I think that’s the only way to eliminate any type of stigma. We’re about the real-life stuff when it comes to our players.”

Tickets are not yet on sale for the event. Prices and availability will be released at a later date, closer to the event.

Click here for more information on the event.