MUNCIE -- A Ball State University freshman doesn’t have to worry about paying tuition for his spring semester after hitting a half-court shot in front of the incoming class of 2019 Thursday night.
Lem Turner, of Vernon Hills, Ill., sank the 47-foot shot to win free tuition equivalent to the in-state cost for the 2016 spring semester. He was chosen at random from the entire freshman class attending a welcome week activity at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
Video courtesy Ball State Sports Link YouTube
Turner will play for the Ball State Men’s Volleyball team in Muncie, but he starred as a varsity center on his high school basketball team. Though, he says that didn’t exactly give him an edge on the long-distance attempt. His teammates back then teased him about his long-range shooting ability.
"But now I got, like, forever bragging rights for the half court contest, you know,” Turner said with a laugh.
Because of the ribbing he took in high school, Turner says in Thursday night’s performance, winning tuition was the second thing on his mind.
“I was more excited that I made the shot than I got free tuition," Turner said. "I made the shot in front of everyone, that’s what I was more excited about. Having everyone cheer and scream, your other classmates, like, see that. It was awesome.”
Ball State says the half-court shot for free tuition chance has been offered for the last three years, and Turner’s is the second shot that’s been successful. Athletic Director Mark Sandy says those odds are unbelievable. Sandy previously worked for Eastern Kentucky University, where a half-court shot was taken at every home game. He says in the last 10 years – an estimated 160 shots – none hit their mark.