MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

March 22, 2014

3 on 3 basketball tourney has big impact on Mayville State and the community


The Mayville State University Comet Athletic Club (CAC) sponsors a 3 on 3 basketball tournament for girls and boys each year. The tournament serves as a fund-raiser for the CAC, the organization that raises scholarship funds for Mayville State athletes. Over the last several years, the tournament has generated anywhere from $15,000 to nearly $25,000 annually after expenses.

The CAC 3 on 3 basketball tournaments were established in 1995 and are going strong nearly 20 years later. The idea and organization behind the tournaments came from two entrepreneurial Mayville State alumni, Tim Garrett (’78) and Neil Lerfald (’76). They have coordinated the annual tournaments for girls and boys each year since 1995. This year, Garrett and Lerfald are being assisted with management by Comet Athletic Club board member Kim Meshefski-Labine, who is chairing the event on behalf of the board.

In the early years, tournaments for girls and boys were held on different days, but for the last several years  there have been girls and boys divisions in a single tournament held each year. The 3 on 3 tournament will be held Sat., March 29 this year. The tourney is open to girls and boys ranging from third grade through the high school varsity level. Cost to participate is $100 per team, and each team is guaranteed three games. The maximum number of players per team is five. All participants receive free T-shirts, and medals are awarded to the top three places in each division, all others receive ribbons.

The Lewy Lee Fieldhouse will be bustling with activity on tournament day. In addition to the kids participating in the tournament, parents and family members join in the fun as spectators. The combination of participants, spectators, and volunteers makes for a whole lot of folks enjoying a day at Mayville State and the community of Mayville-Portland.

The many volunteers who assist make Mayville State’s 3 on 3 basketball tourneys the best anywhere. Volunteers from the Comet Athletic Club help with various duties throughout the day, including registration, concessions, and public announcing. Mayville State student athletes help in a number of ways, as well, including with setup and the many other duties that need to be covered throughout the day of the tournament. Pulling all of this off requires high levels of coordination and great communication. It’s a classic team effort!

The impact of creative ventures like the 3 on 3 tournaments is very significant. Say that the tournaments average $20,000 per year over the 19 years in which tournaments have been held. This means that MSU has received scholarship benefits of approximately $380,000. If $1,000 scholarships have been offered, and been successful in attracting new student athletes, then MSU’s benefits multiply considerably. A full-time student, living on campus, spends approximately $11,000 each year, and $44,000 over four years. Three hundred eighty students spending $44,000 over the course of their student careers means that the 3 on 3 contributions the past 19 years could potentially have leveraged an impressive $16,720,000 for Mayville State University. 

The Comet Athletic Club 3 on 3 basketball tournament is a wonderful example of the great things that can happen when good people come together for a worthy cause. The tournament has provided young people with the opportunity to have fun with basketball and a chance to experience a day at Mayville State, while helping to raise much-needed funds for scholarships for Mayville State University athletes.

Hats off to all who have had a part in the success of the 3 on 3 tournament, including tournament sponsors who have assisted financially, and especially to Neil Lerfald and Tim Garrett who have coordinated this very important annual event since the beginning, and to the many others who have played a crucial role in the tournament success over the years! Your good work has made a big difference for student athletes at Mayville State University and for the region as these student athletes graduate and contribute to their communities.

I encourage you to stop by the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse Sat., March 29, beginning at 8:30 a.m. to see what the excitement is all about.