Dayton fans cheer during a game against East Tennessee State on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

UD wins in March Madness generate interest from prospective students

Wins in the NCAA tournament translate into more potential students for the University of Dayton.

The university saw about a 10,000-person spike in inquiries from prospective students in 2015, just a year after the UD men’s basketball team made a run to the Elite Eight in 2014, officials said this week.

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“I think it gives us a greater national exposure,” said Robert Durkle, associate vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “The consistency of us being in the NCAA (tournament) I think reinforces that exposure nationally.”

This year’s tournament marks the fourth in a row the UD Flyers have played in.

While it’s difficult to tell what exactly causes a bump in applications or interest, officials said the basketball team’s success is almost certainly a factor. Inquiries bump up the year after a successful tournament run because most have already been submitted by the time March Madness starts, Durkle said.

The team’s success likely also sways some students who have been admitted to a few schools, Durkle said, but haven’t decided where to go yet.

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“If we weren’t in the NCAA (tournament) would we still have 2,000 students in the freshmen class?” Durkle said. “Potentially yes but it makes it much easier.”

Hosting the NCAA First Four also draws UD national attention. It helps the university recruit in other parts of the country, Durkle said.

“We’ve got hours of basketball here with the University of Dayton name on it which is going to really give us more marketing than we could ever purchase through an ad or phone conversation,” Durkle said. “This is really big for us.”

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