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Fifty Million Dollars

That is the probable price tag of a public relations campaign commensurate with the heave-up George Mason’s recent basketball success gave the Virginia university. According, at least, to the low-end estimations of economist C. Scott Bozman. Todd Zywicki notes the news here, and the original report is at Sports Illustrated. A GMU economist has his sights set on a more-complete valuation later this year, and expects to find that the exposure was worth even more.

But gee, that’s a big number, and probably one of the least important. The value is not in the free media exposure won by a dark horse basketball team. As the economists say, that can be purchased. The gold lies in the wealth of pride, spirit, and energy such a team creates—the willingness it imbues in students and prospective students to invest in the school. This year, as a result of the Final Four run, the admissions department at George Mason expects a two percent increase in yield—the number of accepted students who choose George Mason after all—and an uptick of at least ten points in the mean SAT score of applicants.

Perhaps athletics are not, in fact, antithetical to the academic mission of the College.


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