By Caitlyn Wilkes
The Youngstown State University football team capped off their 2017 campaign Saturday in the Ice Castle hosting the Missouri State University Bears for Military Appreciation Day.
The players looked the part wearing red jerseys with camouflage accents on the numbers and sleeves. Their helmets featured a camouflage Y logo and a blue stripe with white stars down the center.
The jerseys were part of an auction benefiting the YSU Foundation’s Veterans Resources Center Scholarship Fund. This scholarship was established in 2015 for veterans and their family members who want to attend college at YSU.
The auction was sponsored by local organizations including the National Electrical Contractors Association-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NECA-IBEW) and Stadium GM in Salem.
Martyn Moss, manager of building services and a member of the Veterans Council at YSU, said he took inspiration for the auction from Southern Illinois University.
“[SIU] holds a blackout game every year and auctions off the jerseys for cancer awareness. We took that idea and gave it a new twist,” Moss said.
The rainy weather did little to deter Penguin fans from attending the final game of the season. After the game, the 80 highest bidders gathered in a Stambaugh Stadium gym to check in. They then had the opportunity to take photos with some of the players before receiving their jerseys.
Senior tight-end Kevin Rader was one of many players whose name on the back of his jersey held special meaning.
“The back of his jersey has Ray-Rader on it today because his grandfather Ray and grandfather Rader both served in World War II,” Rader’s father Eric Rader said. “For all the service the veterans have given to our country, it’s important they have the opportunity to take advantage of resources like YSU.”
Saturday’s game lifted YSU to a 6-5 record, closing out the season with a 38-10 win over MSU.
“I think this was a great day for a great cause,” Kevin Rader said. “With [Military Appreciation Day] and Senior Day, we got a nice win today and it was a great day overall.”
This was the first year for the jersey auction, which raised almost $28,000 for the YSU Foundation and the Veterans Scholarship, and Moss said it will not be the last.
“At the end of the year, we’re going to sit down and look at everything we did right and everything we did wrong. Based on this year’s results, we’d like to keep this going for the next five to 10 years,” Moss said.
For more information on the YSU Foundation, visit their website at ysufoundation.com.