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Big33 Foundation is shutting down, Game Will Continue

Written by: on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017. Follow Staff on Twitter.


Citing declining donations to the charity which have created an insurmountable debt, the governing Board of Directors of the Big33 foundation unanimously voted to formally dissolve the organization. Just several weeks ago, the foundations executive director Dave Trimbur passed away suddenly.

“We no longer have the capacity and resources to continue operating the Big 33 organization,” said Jeanne DeDay, president of the foundation.  “The Board of Directors and staff will work with community partners to explore opportunities to pass on the organization’s spirit, notably the program for persons with special needs known as “the Buddies,” award academic scholarships to outstanding students that meet the qualifications and the super bowl of high school all-star annual Big 33 football game. The game would be celebrating its 60th year anniversary in 2017. We are currently in discussions with another undisclosed organization to continue the game and now are optimistic it will survive.” DeDay noted.

We are taking time during the transition to consciously show our deep appreciation for everyone that ensured that the game and the Buddies program and the academic scholarship program enjoyed a robust and huge impact on literally thousands of individuals over the years. We particularly want to cast the spotlight on the long serving and loyal staff, host families, event volunteers, donors, vendors and local media.

We congratulate the academic scholarship recipients and the long list of outstanding athletes, many of whom went on to play professionally in the Super Bowl. We are also quite proud of the scholarship recipients and players who have become distinguished citizens in communities across the country. In many instances, doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do…and this is one of them.

The Big 33 Foundation was established 59 years ago and raised money for scholarships and other various charitable organizations. One of the most notable programs was the famed “Buddy Program” which features special needs kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Buddy program was started in 1985 and was designed to partner a special needs child with a Big 33 or Big 26 athlete (baseball).

According to Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Executive Director, Garry Cathell, this year’s game (the 60th, which currently is slated to be held on Memorial Day Weekend) will be organized by the PSFCA, now the owner of the game. “We will continue the high integrity and many aspects of the game such as buddies and cheerleaders programs. We will keep the game in Dauphin County but we have not confirmed a date or the location as of this time. We are also investigating June 10 and 17. There is no guarantee the game will be held at Hershey but negotiations with HERCO are ongoing. An official date and location will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

The selection process for both teams will continue as always. Teams will be selected Feb 8 and both teams will be released Feb 10 during convention. This years Maryland team is also expected to be released the same day.

There has never been a Super Bowl played without at least 1 former player from the Big33 Game and this year that streak will continue as every team left in the NFL playoffs has a former player of the Big33 on their roster.

Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball

Leave a Reply

9 Responses to “Big33 Foundation is shutting down, Game Will Continue”

  1. Billy Splain says:

    I’m actually checking on this Paul. let me get back to you on this…might be wrong

  2. sausmann9 says:

    one last question – below you stated “according to NCAA rules”, did you PIAA rules or does NCAA govern high school student athletes once they graduate but prior to college campus arrival??? tx.

  3. Billy Splain says:

    it means they can’t play in any as a junior. As a senior, after their season is over they can play in 2 total.

  4. sausmann9 says:

    @ Billy – or did you mean that throughout the entire high school career of a player, that player may only participate in two all-star games and ONLY between the end of the senior seasons and graduation (meaning no all star games as a soph or junior) tx ???

    man I wish your forum had an edit button for posts =)

  5. sausmann9 says:

    @ Billy – if high school athletes can only compete in two all-star games between end of season and graduation; all the more reason to play it as a junior which allows for two more their senior season. that’s a bonus for unsigned players.

    second – you think its better to risk/jeopardize your senior season in high school as an all-star junior or risk a scholarship you already have as a senior??? As a player – I’d rather risk my senior season than my scholarship offer and my freshman season in college.

    Seniors-to-be would make this game so much better. I think you would have more players showing up for the game instead of opting out for senior week, beach trips before college, early signing for college, college coaches saying NO to playing in the game to the recruit, etc…

  6. D12FAN says:

    Surprising with at least one BIG 33 alum playing in every super bowl, they cannot raise enough money to remain viable.

  7. Billy Splain says:

    many reasons Paul. First, I’m pretty sure according to NCAA rules, high school athletes can participate in only two all-star contests between the end of the senior-year sports season and high school-graduation. Second, why would a HS coach allow a star player to risk injury for an all star contest, ruining their senior year and possibly their recruitment.

  8. sausmann9 says:

    man I wish they would change the game itself. stop with the exiting/graduating Seniors and open this game up to Juniors only. let the juniors (seniors to be) show their stuff and give us a preview of what to expect for the upcoming season. Let them earn a scholarship with the start of this game. Too many times some of the top players refused to play due to college commitments, other all-star games, or even a few opted for senior trips over the game or even players not going full speed to avoid injury or something like that.

    Is there any reason anyone can think of that would make a “Juniors only” Big 33 game NOT work or any reason to be against it??? thanks.

  9. Eric W says:

    A shame, hope it can live on, somehow