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National Tournament Invites Ideas to Make Sports Sustainable

Richardson StadiumThe Next Play Venture Tournament, a one-of-a-kind competition that connects entrepreneurship and sustainability through sports, will be held at Davidson College this Friday and Saturday, April 17-18.

Members of the media and general public may attend to hear talks from five leaders in the sustainability world at various times throughout the weekend, and may attend the awards ceremony at 5 p.m., Saturday, April 18, in the Alvarez College Union. To attend, register with event organizer Jeff Mittelstadt at 704-880-5702 or email him at jemittelstadt@davidson.edu.

Thirteen venture teams from colleges and universities around the nation will compete for $30,000 in prize money by pitching business plans that focus on sustainability and sports to a panel of judges. Each of the non-profit and for-profit champions will receive $8,000, and runners up in each category will receive $5,000. The for-profit champion also will win membership in the Town of Davidson's start-up, the Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability (PiES).

The judges for the two-day event represent professionals from 30 organizations. The five who also will speak during the weekend are Dan Driscoll from reQwip.com (last year's for-profit winner of The Next Play); Hector Scarano from Andretti Autosport; Laurie Walker from PiES; NFL player Will Witherspoon, who owns a sustainable grass-fed cattle farm; and Maryanne McGowan from Duke Energy.

Teams will accumulate points on Friday with pitches to three different panels of judges. Based on their Friday scores, teams on Saturday will compete head-to-head in a bracket-style tournament to move on to the next round or face elimination. At the end of the competition, the judges will crown for-profit and non-profit champions. This year's teams represent Arizona State University, Clarkson University, Concordia University at St. Paul, Davidson College, Fairfield University, Florida State University, Houghton College, Indiana University Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University, University of South Carolina, Southern Vermont College, University of Tennessee and University of Texas at Arlington.

The competition sponsors include Duke Energy, Ingersoll Rand, PiES,and Waste Management. The Green Sports Alliance also is a promotional partner.

For more information, visit nextplayventure.org.