SDSU needs basketball for national recognition

by Jimmy Janszen, Staff Columnist

Any university can gain national recognition solely through its basketball program.

Forbes magazine reported, “‘The primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions in the United States is, arguably, through their athletic programs,’ says Harvard Business School Assistant Professor of marketing Doug J. Chung.”

SDSU’s basketball program is crucial for national recognition of the university.

Many other universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Duke are publicly recognized for a range of programs and departments, but for other less-recognized universities it only takes a good run in the NCAA basketball tournament to be publicly known.

In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast University was lucky enough to make the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, commonly known as March Madness.

Going in as a 15 seed team, FGCU made it to the round of sweet sixteen beating out number two ranked Georgetown as well as our number seven ranked SDSU Aztecs.

Overnight, virtually every college basketball fan knew about this small school and its large impact on the tournament. From March 21 to March 25, visits to FGCU admission page boosted from 2,280 to 47,793, according to the university’s newspaper. That’s nearly a 2000 percent increase in potential applicants.

SDSU has a fairly decent history as a good basketball program, so a good run in the tournament isn’t likely to cause an influx of applicants. However if the program were to continually perform poorly and miss out entirely on the NCAA tournament, the school would get less advertising and recognition, which has the potential to lead to fewer applicants.

Making the tournament is crucial for SDSU—not only for its basketball program but also for the university as a whole.

The NCAA March Madness tournament brought in an average of 11.3 million total viewers in 2015. Because SDSU makes the tournament almost every year, millions of views become familiar with the university.

Although SDSU basketball brings in about half the revenue its football program receives, its basketball program reigns supreme among San Diego State students. According to Bleacher Report, SDSU’s student section at Viejas Arena ranks number one across the nation.

Even the popular “I believe that we will win” chant that became so famously adopted by U.S. soccer fans during the 2014 World Cup was trademarked by SDSU three years prior to the world cup because it was, and still is, commonly chanted at home games.

Because the Aztec’s are successful on the court, prospective SDSU students see this and wish to be part of the atmosphere. If SDSU’s basketball team were to continually perform poorly, it would be less incentive for prospective students to become an Aztec.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said, “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.”

But consistently losing comes at the cost of a fan base.

Just look back at Steve Fisher’s first season as head coach during the 1999 to 2000 season. The Aztecs won just five games and lost 23 games while going 0 and fourteen in the conference.

Seats in the arena were virtually empty, and Fisher himself handed out free tickets on campus in order to get students to come to the games.

Don’t start losing, Aztecs, because you’ll quickly lose your beloved fans and your number one ranked student section.

No pressure.

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