Last night, no. 5 seed Arizona smashed the no. 1 seed Duke in an upset that completely changed the face of this year’s NCAA men’s tournament. Duke, the school that has been known for their tremendous basketball program, lost big time against the underdog Arizona Wildcats last night in one of the biggest games of the tournament. Each year, March Madness puts the entire country into a frenzy with brackets and bar crawls to celebrate some of the greatest college teams in sports.
A few years back, my alma mater was on the bubble of getting into the tournament and students had an all-night vigil praying to the gods of basketball that somehow we would get the chance to make a showing at the big dance. We never got that chance, but just being on the bubble got the school a ton of name recognition and publicity from local news outlets.
While working at a Los Angeles public relations agency, we can’t ignore the power that March Madness has over the rest of the country. Most colleges and universities around the country have their own public relations departments, but during the basketball season there must be some kind of kick-up in campus tours and phone calls from prospective students.
With the recent drama that arises during football season with illegal recruiting allegations against some of the biggest (and most well funded) athletic programs, I wonder of all of this bad publicity effects school admission numbers? Branding and public relations of a university is a multimillion dollar big business, and I’m sure winning a national championship trophy helps bring more eyes to the university.
What are your thoughts? Does a schools performance in the national championship circuit make a difference in public perception and potential admission numbers? Let us know in the comments below!