Niya Butts and the UA women’s basketball team are making a splash this summer, and she’s challenging the rest of the Pac-12 — and the country — to do the same.
And no, that’s not a reference to recruiting.
Let’s backtrack a little bit.
Recently, there has been a viral video trend circulating called the “Cold Water Challenge.”
In short, a person calls someone out, or is called out, on social media to jump in cold water — or have it dumped on them. If it’s not done within a day, the person challenged must donate money to the charity of the challenger’s choice.
Calamity McEntire, a Wildcats assistant coach, brought the idea to Butts. The Wildcats have given it their own spin and challenged the rest of the Pac-12 — for charity, of course.
“Initially it started out as a joke,” Butts said. “Then I was thinking about it, and I’m like, ‘We can do it but I’m not sure they’ll answer just as a joke, so to speak, so we need to attach something to it.’”
That’s where the Kay Yow Fund, which raises money for cancer research, came to mind. The fund is named for Yow, the former North Carolina State basketball coach who lost a battle with breast cancer in 2009.
Butts and her staff filmed the first video this week. Here are the rules:
Every head coach who is called out must respond to the challenge within 48 hours. If they don’t, they owe $250 to the Yow fund. If they complete the challenge, then the challenger will donate $50.
Butts called out UCLA’s Cori Close, California’s Lindsay Gottlieb, Colorado’s Linda Lappe and ASU’s Charli Turner Thorne. Then Butts had a jug of icy water dumped on her, on camera.
“It was super cold and it was all on my hair,” Butts said. “I got a thing about my hair, so if I’m willing to get my hair messed up, it has to be for a great cause.”
Assistant coaches Sean LeBeauf, E.C. Hill and McEntire followed suit, each calling out three other Pac-12 assistant coaches.
UA players Candice Warthen, Dejza James and Charise Holloway joined in as well, each calling out three other conference players.
Players put up two hours of community service from the challenger for each player that accepts, and those that refuse must donate five hours.
So far, the challenge, dubbed “#Chillin4Charity” on Twitter, has spread like wildfire.
As of Friday afternoon, as many as 55 Division I programs — head coach, assistants and/or players included — had posted videos, participating in this Cold Water Challenge.
Thursday, Butts happily paid up — with $200 to the Yow fund.
“I don’t know that I expected it to be this big,” Butts said. “But we’re a competitive group in women’s basketball and coaches in general. So when you see someone else do it, and they call you out it’s like, ‘OK, are you gonna step up to the plate?’ Nobody wants to back down from a dare or a challenge.
“Now, they’re just having a good time with it.”