SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Two local college men’s basketball teams are dreaming of a trip to the big dance.
If Sac State and UC Davis get into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it could have huge implications not only for those basketball programs, but for their schools.
Tonight, we asked what is Sac State doing to capitalize on a possible trip to March Madness?
These moves on the court from the Hornets are creating a lot of buzz on Sac State’s campus.
“Yeah, it feels good, to have your school at the top,” said a student.
Students say school pride is high as the basketball team gets closer to the Big Sky tournament, which could lead them to March Madness and college hoops fame.
“It’s great to hear that they’re in contention,” said a student.
“I got here in 1996,” said Interim Athletic Director Bill Macriss
Macriss says he hasn’t seen a season this magical since he’s been here.
“The energy, the attention, the buzz has been big. It’s been great,” he said.
Macriss says in the coming weeks and months they will be working the phones to try and raise money for a new athletic facility.
“We’re going to be working furiously to take advantage of this momentum, ride this wave, and see if we can’t in fact get our alumni, our fans, and our community, to come out and help us make this thing a reality,” he said.
Students voted against paying for a new arena with tuition fee hikes last year, but Macriss says one is needed if they want to become a national name.
He says with their winning streak, it will be a lot easier to sell the idea of Sacramento as a college hoops town.
“This town loves a winner and this town their basketball. We would love to give them that win and make everyone in Sacramento and all 100,000 alums proud to be a hornet,” he said.
Sac State’s information director tells us the conference gets about $1.6 million to divide among the programs as the conference champion gets an automatic bid into the tournament. That comes out to about $260,000 for those programs. But, he says that money snowballs each time a team advances into the next round, quickly reaching into the multi-millions for deep runs in the tournament.
And the benefits go well beyond the basketball program.
Here are some examples of how other smaller schools benefited: In 2013, 15th seed Florida Gulf Coast University made it to the sweet 16. The next fall semester, admissions for the school rose about 27 percent. After Virginia Commonwealth University reached the final four in 2011, their out-of-state admissions rose 8 percent, meaning more than $3 million more in tuition. And when Butler reached the championship game in 2010 and 2011, admissions rose 52 percent from the 2009 school year.