Athletics' Impact on Academics: How Universities Benefit From Postseason Success (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

March 28, 2013 Updated Mar 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) - As we get deeper into the NCAA men's basketball tournament, storylines around the "mid-major" schools seems to be taking the forefront. But is it possible a deep tournament run can help out smaller institutions like IPFW?

Every year we see "Cinderella" schools emerge that capture the hearts of American sports fans everywhere, even if they bust brackets along the way. And this year is no different with the likes of Wichita State, La Salle, and Florida Gulf Coast becoming the hot new teams to root for. What some may not realize is the effect a deep tournament run can have on a university off the court.

Whether it’s name recognition on a national scale or the immeasurable amounts of free marketing they get from their team's successes, universities across the country know that athletic success has its way of trickling down to all departments.

"In the Division-1 level, your athletic department is the 'front porch' of your university. And so a lot of times universities get measured by how their sports teams do," says IPFW Athletic Director Tommy Bell. "Not knowing about how great of a faculty that you have and what they're doing on campus from research and some of the studies, or the white papers that they're putting together. So we always got to make sure the 'front porch' looks good, and the 'front porch' is doing well because we know that that can help the entire whole."

Surprisingly, some of the biggest supporters of these teams are the other sports programs at that university. They, too, know that a cut of the money those "major sports" bring in goes towards the other programs as well.

Bell points out a university's success in sports can have an effect in the classroom, as well.

“Sometimes a lot of schools have seen an increase in submission applications based on some success athletically. Whether it’s been in a large bowl game or whether it’s in an NCAA basketball game.”

Once the teams create a buzz for their school, a lot of onlookers tend to want to be part of it.

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