For the first time in 13 years, the Bradley Braves are going dancing in March Madness.
Winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and going to March Madness brings pride to the Bradley campus and excitement for the Athletic Department, but it also brings in thousands of dollars for every university in the conference, just by the Braves playing in a single game. And this incredible win is benefiting the entire campus.
“Because of the enthusiasm and the excitement that it generates, you probably pick up some additional gifts, donations to the university and certainly the athletic department,” said Bradley’s President Gary Roberts.
Roberts says the further the Braves go in the tournament, the more money Bradley’s Athletic Department receives. That also benefits every Missouri Valley Conference team, including the ISU Redbirds.
“Every game that a team appears in in the NCAA tournament, there’s about $270,000 that goes to the conference. And then the conference divides it up pretty much equally,” said Roberts. “So whether it’s Loyola or Southern Illinois or Bradley, the benefit is the same to every school in the conference.”
The Braves Athletic Director Dr. Chris Reynolds was chose to serve on the committee selecting the NCAA Tournament field, he says the team has been successful by playing selflessly.
“There are no egos on the team, they all compete to win. And when winning and competing well and competing at a high level is the focus and not individual stats and that sort of thing. It gives you a great chance to be successful,” said Reynolds.
And the beauty of sports is that when teams are successful, the entire university benefits.
“Athletics is a great window into the university and so success in athletics gives you opportunities to tell the world about the university in a way that you don’t normally otherwise get,” said Roberts.
There’s a lot of buzz as the Men’s basketball team awaits ‘Selection Sunday’ on Sunday, March 15. The team is hosting a watch party at the Renaissance Coliseum, doors open at 4 p.m. and the show begins at 5.
The watch party is free, and you can purchase drinks and snacks there if you’d like.