Newswise — As Butler University men’s basketball team prepares for Thursday’s fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, University officials are still measuring the positive consequences of the Bulldogs’ run up to the April 5, 2010, championship game.
Duke won the title, but Butler won legions of energized fans and an avalanche of favorable publicity. Interest in Butler continues to grow, as indicated by the following:
• Men’s basketball season ticket sales for 2010-2011 increased by more than 25 percent over the previous year. Average attendance per home game was 7,177, the highest average in more than 40 years.
• Donations to Butler’s athletic programs are up significantly. The number of undergraduate alumni giving to Butler grew by 10 percent over the year.
• Legacy students – those with a family member who previously attended Butler – jumped from a record 104 in fall 2009 to a new record, 161, in fall 2010.
• In October 2010, two major Homecoming functions, the President’s Dinner and Bulldog Beauty Contest, set attendance records. Overall, alumni events are seeing more new participants.
• Butler Basketball’s Facebook page has 57,395 friends – an increase of about 17,000 since May 2010. The University’s official Facebook fan page added close to 1,000 fans in that time, about the same number as new followers for the University’s Twitter account (@butleru). And followers of a blog “written” by Butler’s live bulldog mascot, Butler Blue II, have multiplied by 200 percent.
Most significantly, the number of applications to Butler have gone up 41 percent (total 9,357) compared with applications received by the same time last year. Requests for information and campus visits by prospective students are both up 35 percent for the year.
“That’s a solid indicator of interest,” said Tom Weede, Butler’s vice president for enrollment management. Applications from outside of Indiana have gone up 62 percent over last year’s figures; in-state applications rose 18 percent. Weede predicted last spring that the tournament exposure would generate more interest among college applicants. “People knew where Butler was because they saw us in the Final Four,” he said. “No one applies to schools they’ve never heard of.”
That larger applicant pool means more competition to be one of the roughly 4,950 applicants Butler will accept to fill 960 freshmen seats in fall 2011. Butler sent out its first round of acceptances for next fall’s students in December; a final round went out in early March. Those accepted have until May 1 to pay a tuition deposit, confirming that they will attend Butler.
Weede said the University has offered about 200 more acceptances than last year’s total, an increase of 3 percent.
Current applicants seemed to go out of their way in their application essay to state that they were “interested in Butler before the NCAA tournament,” according to Weede.
More telling, he said, is something his Admission staff members heard repeatedly during high school visits in fall 2010. The main memory that prospective students and their parents seemed to have of the Bulldogs’ involvement in the Final Four, Weede said, was of Butler being “the school whose basketball players went to class on the day of the championship game.”
Butler’s reputation for academic seriousness got another boost this week when Inside Higher Ed named Butler the champion of its Academic Performance Tournament — the magazine’s take on what the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament would look like if teams advanced based on their outcomes in the classroom. (see www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/03/14/the_ncaa_tournament_bracket_based_on_teams_academic_performance)
Bracket winners were determined using the NCAA’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate, a nationally comparable score that gives points to teams whose players stay in good academic standing and remain enrolled from semester to semester.
To find other Butler University experts, visit http://www.butler.edu/experts/.