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Abilene Sees Big Tournament Payoff on Many Fronts

Andy Berg

Bracket-busting Abilene Christian University says its upset victory over the Texas Longhorns in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bodes well for the school coffers. 

“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 said in a phone interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Abilene would end up losing to the 11th-seeded UCLA Bruins in their second game, but the exposure for a small, private former Division II school is invaluable.

“I hope people learn about ACU,” said coach Joe Goldin. “It’s a special place.” 

Small schools that do enjoy wins in the tournament ultimately see increased donations and applications.

“It’s been subtle because the trend is college enrollment has been on a decline and we have bucked that trend,” Schubert said. “Doing this has promoted a culture, but it signaled to our community, our faculty and our staff that we are capable of doing big things on a big stage. Not just basketball.

“It transcends into academics. It’s a shot across the bow that we do not ever settle for mediocrity. It gave us confidence.”

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