Unified Sports


Through our special partnership with Special Olympics New York, we are pleased to offer Unified Sports Programs to our membership. Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that combines an approximately equal number of athletes (students with intellectual disabilities) and partners (students without intellectual disabilities) on teams for training and competitions.


Currently, the NYSPHSAA and Special Olympics have just completed a pilot program in Section 2 and are starting a pilot program in Section 5. All pilot programs are for a Spring Unified Basketball season. A key component of the pilot program is the Youth Activation Committee (YAC). The YAC is responsible to help increase awareness and acceptance of students with disabilities within the school district by supporting the Unified Basketball team.

A Unified Sport Committee will be formed in the Fall of 2014 with representatives from all 11 sections. The objective of the committee will be to establish pilot programs in all 11 sections on a voluntary basis and to recommend rules and regulations that will be followed for all Unified Sport Programs within the Association.

Project Objective: Unified Sports participation is rooted in the principle of meaningful involvement which ensures that every player is given an opportunity to contribute to the success of his or her team through their unique skills and qualities. This means that every team member: (a) demonstrates sufficient sport-specific skills and game understanding; (b) plays a valued role on the team that emphasizes his or her personal talents; and (c) has an opportunity to play without a heightened risk of injury.



NFHS Playing Rules:


  1. All NFHS Basketball rules will be followed unless a NYSPHSAA or Special Olympics Rule Adaptation is in place.
  2. There will not be a shot clock (NFHS rule).
  3. The ball used for game play will be a 29.5 inch basketball. (NFHS Rule)
  4. If extra time is needed, overtime periods will be 4 minutes. (NFHS Rule)


  1. Each team is allowed three Full and two 30 second timeouts per half.  Each team is allowed one (1) additional full time out in overtime. (NFHS Rule)
  2. Three point shots are in effect.
  3. Team bonus will be reached at 7 team fouls and double bonus will be reached at 10 team fouls in each half.
NYSPHSAA and Special Olympics Modifications:


  1. The objective of Unified Basketball is to have 3 Athletes and 2 Partners on the court.
  2. Traveling will be called if a player scores or has a clear advantage because of the traveling.
  3. A game may consist of either four 8 minute quarters or two 16 minute halves.


Points of Emphasis:


  1. Double dribbles will be strictly enforced.
  2. Any defense is allowed.
  3. Free throw lane and 3 second lane violations will be enforced.




It is our belief that sports and other co-curricular student activities are of the greatest benefit to all students when done in the least restrictive environment.