HBCU’s could benefit greatly from NCAA Tournament

Colleges get direct payments from the telecast based on a complicated formula that takes into account the school’s athletic conference, how many teams from that conference make it to the tournament and how far each advances. Sometimes, these payments are split evenly throughout the conference, allotted even to those teams that do not make the tournament. For example, Morgan State University, one of the lesser teams in the tournament, got $291,000 for appearing last year. The 12 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference — which includes last year’s winner, the University of North Carolina — evenly split a hefty $15,863,538.

George Mason University professor of education and human development Robert Baker did a study over the two years that followed the school’s success after reaching the final round of eight in the 2006 NCAA tournament, and found that applications went up 22% the next year, with out-of-state applications increasing 40%. Bookstore sales, which include purchases of school-related apparel, for March 2006 equaled those of the entire year before. Athletic alumni contributions increased 52% in the following year. Baker estimates that, if you add up the time the team appeared on TV and was written about in print, the university had $677,474,659 in free media “advertising.”

Similarly, the University of Northern Iowa, which draws 80% of its students from in-state, saw its Facebook page grow from 12,000 subscribers to 14,600 the weekend the Panthers beat top-seeded Kansas in this year’s tournament. “The public awareness that we exist has increased 100-fold,” notes Terry Hogan, Northern Iowa’s vice president for student affairs. By beating Kansas, the team played in St. Louis, one of its primary recruiting areas, the following week. “Our goals are modest, but the impact on our university should be great in all ways.”

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