March Madness upsets are fun for the players and fans, but they can also mean big money from the exposure for the school.
Abilene Christian defeated Texas in one of the most surprising results in the first round of the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament. While the No. 14 seed's win over the No. 3 seed messed up many brackets, the combination of the victory and an appearance in the second round was worth nine figures and counting for the small West Texas university.
"So far we are close to $120 million-plus and we really haven't had time to tally up the totals," ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert told Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Wildcats suffered a 20-point loss to UCLA in the second round, although simply facing another major program only added to the school's exposure.
As Schubert explained, tournament appearances lead to increased donations, increased applications and increased enrollment.
"There are other places a university can make significant steps, but I'd say nothing compares to the level of visibility and market value that comes with men's basketball, at least for us," he said.
Abilene Christian estimated its 2019 loss to Kentucky was worth $74 million.
The program has only been in Division I since 2013, but efforts like this go a long way in helping the school's growth.