In an article in The Christian Science Monitor, Victor Matheson, assistant professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, commented on Florida Gulf Coast University’s recent unexpected success in the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. With 68 teams competing, many of them top-ranked national basketball programs, the Gulf Coast Gators won several upsets, including contests against Georgetown University and San Diego State, and was one of the final sixteen teams remaining.
The Florida school, which has raised its public profile considerably after rolling out its successful basketball team in front of many TV viewers, earned $250,000 per victory (they won three games), and must share those winnings with the other eight schools in the Atlantic Sun Conference. “They get those three tournament shares every year for six years,” explained Matheson. “That’s $3 million in the pocket of the Atlantic Sun Conference, when normally, they get their one automatic bid [and $250,000] every year and that’s it.”
Founded in 1997, Florida Gulf Coast University is a relatively new school and therefore boats a modest endowment of $50 million. While its basketball program may have won over some donors, Matheson contended that donations would likely go straight to the athletic program, not academics.
This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.