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Interscholastic Unified Sports

By providing opportunities for students both with all types of disabilities and without disabilities to participate in sports meaningfully and by engaging other students in the school community, Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) helps promote inclusion, acceptance, and respect.

The Special Olympics Interscholastic Unified Sports program is supported by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Bureau of Special Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education.

SOPA is working with 91 schools in 12 counties, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to provide IUS programs for Indoor Bocce, Track and Field, and Soccer

Over the course of four years, Special Olympics Pennsylvania seeks to build a network of partnerships with school districts which encompass all areas of the state.  The goal is to have high schools throughout Pennsylvania offer Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) opportunities in at least two Unified Sports.


Unified Indoor Bocce:

  • The Unified Indoor Bocce season is December through February with the culminating events held in March.
    • Teams practice a minimum of twice a week and participate in at least three competitions
    • A team consists of a proportional number of students with and without intellectual disabilities (one team consists of 6-8 athletes)
    • Most schools will field 2-4 teams
  • Bocce Events:
    • Each county/cluster of school districts will host several regular season competitions, including a County Championship
    • SOPA hosts the IUS Bocce Championship at PIAA Boy’s and Girl’s Basketball Championship, Hershey, PA in March.

Unified Track and Field:

  • Unified Track and Field is offered from March to May
    • Teams practice a minimum of twice a week and participate in three competitions
    • A team consists of 12-30 athletes, proportional number of students with and without intellectual disabilities
    • Official events include:
Track Events  
Field Events
100 meters  
Shot Put
400 meters 
Running Long Jump
800 Meters Mini-Jav
4 x 400 meter relay  
4 x 100 meter replay  
    • On a Unified Track and Field team, students with and without intellectual disabilities compete alongside each.
    • Each team members competes in one field event, one track event and one relay.
    • Competition divisions are based on similar ability levels to ensure meaningful involvement. 
    • Based on their place of finish, competitors earn points for their high school’s Unified Track and Field team
      • 5 points for 1st place
      • 3 points for 2nd place
      • 1 point for 3rd place 
      • The team which accumulates the most points wins the meet or invitational.
  • Upcoming Track & Field Events:
    • Each county/cluster of school districts will host several regular season competitions, including a County Championship
    • SOPA hosts the IUS Track and Field Championship at PIAA T&F Championships, Shippensburg University in May.

Unified Soccer (Philadelphia only):

  • Unified Soccer is offered in Philadelphia from February to May. 
    • Upcoming Soccer Events
    • Teams practice a minimum of twice a week and participate in a minimum of three competitions.
    • Teams consist of proportionate numbers of students with and without intellectual disabilities.
    • Teams are placed in two types of models:
      1. Player Development
        • Teammates of higher ability serve as mentors to assist those of lower ability
        • Rules modifications to define players’ roles, ensure meaningful involvement and prevent player dominance
      2. Competitive
        • All Teammates have sufficient sport skills and tactics
        • No modifications of Official Special Olympics Sports Rules
    • Regular season events are held in March, April, and May.
    • The Philadelphia Unified Soccer Championship is held at the end of May.

For more information about Interscholastic Unified Sports, please contact Jennifer Tresp, Training and Unified Sports Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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