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Sister Jean will join Loyola team in Indianapolis for March Madness

The school announced Tuesday that the NCAA has approved travel for the 101-year-old team chaplain to head to Indy for the tournament.

Loyola v Kansas State
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt celebrates with the Loyola Ramblers after defeating the Kansas State Wildcats during the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt will travel to Indianapolis to root Loyola on as the Ramblers try to make another Final Four run, the school confirmed Tuesday.

The beloved 101-year-old team chaplain, who became a national celebrity during Loyola’s March Madness breakout three years ago, had been pushing the NCAA and Loyola to approve her travel since the Ramblers clinched their spot by defeating Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.

But there was uncertainty over whether that would happen given the coronavirus protocols implemented for March Madness, which brings together 68 teams from around the country.

Loyola, in its 10th season under head coach Porter Moser, earned a No. 9 seed in the bracket after an impressive 24-4 campaign. The team led the nation in points allowed per game and won both the MVC regular season and conference tournament titles.

Sister Jean, who turned 101 last August, said at the time that her biggest wish for her birthday that month was to “leave [my apartment] and go to campus,” something she had been unable to do due to COVID-19.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped her from following her Ramblers, though: She appeared on ESPN’s “College GameDay” last month to discuss a pair of matchups between Loyola and Drake.

Now she’s set to travel to Indianapolis to watch her Ramblers, who open their tournament slate Friday at 3 p.m. against Georgia Tech.