"The Cowgirls are playing great basketball right now," Ford said in a press release. "They need and deserve all the support they can get while trying to win the WNIT championship. Anything Heather and I can do to help them achieve this goal, we're willing to do. I just hope we can get as many students as possible at the game to cheer on the Cowgirls to victory."
In addition to the Ford’s generosity, two more anonymous donors purchases an additional 200 student tickets, raising the number of free tickets to 600.
There will be a table stationed on the north end of GIA for current OSU students with valid student IDs to pick up free tickets until they run out. Each student will be allotted one free ticket. Additional tickets can be purchased for $5 to see the Cowgirls try to claim the WNIT title.
Ford on both sides of Final Four rivalry
Ford doesn’t believe average basketball fans on a national scale fully appreciate the magnitude of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry on the Final Four scale.
Ford, who played for Kentucky, knows first hand how intense the rivalry is in a regular season format so the chaos surrounding Saturday’s meeting to settle which Bluegrass team advances to the national title game doesn’t surprise him.
“I could talk about it all day,” Ford said. “It’s been fun the past couple days, all the phone calls; It is exciting. People don’t grasp not only what a rivalry it is, but also the love of basketball. I can’t imagine what it’s like in Kentucky now in Louisville and Lexington with the excitement and the buzz.
“I’m sure you all have seen a 68 year old and a 71 year old got in a fight today, a literal fight. It’s all over the Internet. They had a fight over the game. That won’t be the last one before Saturday. I don’t think people grasp the love of basketball; the obsession. It is a true rivalry.”
And it’s a rivalry Ford happens to be on both sides of because his coach at Kentucky, Rick Pitino, is the coach at Louisville.
“Last year I called and got my tickets through Kentucky but this year I’m just sticking with my NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) tickets and sitting where I’m supposed to sit,” Ford said. “It’s Kentucky; coach Pitino understands. Kentucky is my school but coach Pitino is my coach.”
Ford unsure if final scholarship will be used
Oklahoma State has one available scholarship available for the 2012 recruiting class but Ford isn’t 100 percent certain it will be used.
“We’re kinda waiting back to see the J.P. (Olukemi) situation and Philip’s (Jurick) situation,” he said. “We do have one scholarship still sitting there.”
Jurick’s situation is obviously a full recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, which is a recovery he is expected to make. Olukemi, who is also recovery from a season-ending injury with a torn ACL, is also facing eligibility concerns.
Olukemi could either have one semester of eligibility or a full season depending on how confusion from his final year at prep school is settled. Olukemi started taking junior college courses while in prep school, unknowingly starting his eligibility clock. Ford seems confident that this matter will be resolved because of NCAA provisions that directly relate to the specific issue.
But, should things not go as planned, recruiting is still an option Ford and his staff are actively pursuing at this point.
“There could be some need to add depth in some places and there might be some transfers out there we’d take, but I’m not sitting out there right now saying, ‘Oh, we’ve gotta go find this.’ If everybody is healthy and everybody is here, I like our team right now.
“We could use that scholarship and maybe not.”