The UNI men's basketball season will open four days earlier than originally scheduled, school athletic officials announced on Monday (Oct. 23, 2017).

The Panthers have added an exhibition game against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. The contest will benefit disaster relief.

NCAA rules currently allow for two exhibition games and/or closed scrimmages per year, but Division I schools are being allowed a third contest this fall to raise money for people and areas affected by the recent hurricanes in the southern United States and the Caribbean.

Admission to the game is FREE, but fans will be asked to make a donation to Team Rubicon. The non-profit organization, founded by former Badger football student-athlete and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jake Wood, currently has relief operations underway in Houston, San Juan, Puerto Rico and at the wildfires in California.

Tickets for the exhibition game must be secured online at General public patrons may begin securing reserved seat tickets online at noon on Tuesday (Oct. 24). Each patron will be limited to securing up to eight tickets per account.

"This opportunity presented itself last week," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It gives fans the chance to see our team, it gives our team a chance to play against another school and, most importantly, we can raise some money for a great organization like Team Rubicon that does so much to assist those in need around the world."

"We are honored to help play a role in the recovery efforts from the devastation left by the hurricanes and storms that have hit so many regions these past few months," said UNI coach Ben Jacobson. "We want to fill up the Kohl Center and provide relief for the areas that need assistance."

The added exhibition game at Wisconsin is one of two the Panthers will play before they open regular-season play at defending national champion North Carolina on Nov. 10. UNI will host North Carolina-Pembroke in the other exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, starting at 1 p.m.

N.C.-Pembroke is coached Ben Miller. Former UNI Coach Eldon Miller is a volunteer assistant coach on his son's staff.

Eldon Miller guided the Panthers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and a first-round win over Missouri in 1990. Former members of that UNI team are returning to Cedar Falls for a reunion and will be recognized at the Pembroke game.




More From AM 950 KOEL