Updated Fri, Mar 23, 2012 12:59 pm
Updated Fri, Mar 23, 2012 12:59 pm
Ohio University's Bobcat in Chief planned to go to Friday night's NCAA tournament basketball game "with a small group of donors."
It's no secret that a victory on the court was not the only thing on the mind of Roderick McDavis.
McDavis was clearly pumped-up when WOUB News talked with him by telephone a couple days before the big game.
"Certainly in the midst of a $450 million capital campaign we've got a lot of good alumni that are going to be there, friends of the university," McDavis said. "And we're going to try to make them feel even better so that they feel like the university is a good thing to invest in. Certainly, our focus is on getting our alumni to invest in the academic portion of the university. So we're going to try to talk to alumni and friends of the university, spend some time with them and hope that this will move them to make generous donations."
McDavis says no matter what the outcome of the game, O-U comes out a winner.
"I think two areas immediately come to mind in terms of the immediate impact this has on Ohio University," he says. "One of those, we believe, will be to increase the number of applications to our university for next year's freshman class. When you're in the Sweet 16 you've been able to get two great weeks of PR and free marketing. So we think that, based on what's happened at Virginia Commonwealth University and other institutions across the country where their teams have gotten this far, it clearly has a positive impact on the next year's freshman enrollment. We also believe that it will have a positive impact on our ability to raise money for the university from the standpoint of future contributions. So that will be our focus on Friday Night."
During a tough budget time, President McDavis has taken some heat on campus for being a big supporter of the Athletic Department but he says he did that for good reason.
"I have always believed that intercollegiate athletics was a window to the rest of the university," the President says. "You know, it's the means to an end, if you will. And that is to say that my feeling was always that if you were able to experience success in athletics that that would create an opportunity for people to take a closer look at what you're all about as a university. Just in the last three days, I've done two interviews on NPR, three newspapers have called - one of those USA Today - so that puts out the Ohio University brand, which shines the bright light on all of us. This is not just about athletics and certainly not about me. It's about Ohio University and how athletics can help all of us to do what we're here to do: to educate students and hopefully generate more support for all of our great academic programs."
McDavis says wins at the big dance not only count for bragging rights, they also translate into big payouts.
"What happens is that with each game that you win, $200,000 over six years is paid to the Mid-American Conference," McDavis says. "So we've made $2.4 million for the Conference. That money will be divided among all of the members. So as such, yes, we will make some money for the university, there is something to gain from this on a financial end. And we will see that over a six year period as it is divided equally among all of us. We are still benefiting from the $1.2 million that we earned when we beat Georgetown two years ago. So over a three year period, Ohio University has been able to generate $3.6 million for the Mid-American Conference. So yes, there is a financial benefit to winning as well."