Panther basketball success impact on university - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panther basketball success impact on university

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - This year's team may open doors and break new ground when it comes to marketing the university.

From national TV, radio, and newspaper interviews to the cover of Sports Illustrated to sports talk radio and ESPN, it seems everyone is talking about UNI.

It's the team on the court that wins the games but it's the team off the court that may lead to more students, a boost in the athletic budget, and a new sense of pride for the school.

The success of the UNI Panther basketball team is the talk of the nation. It even has school President Ben Allen fielding national interviews.

"We knew we'd get some focus potentially but I don't think we totally understood how much focus the national press would focus on UNI," Allen says.

The cover of Sports Illustrated is just one place UNI is prominently featured this week. But how does all of it translate into the long-term future of the school?

The team shares its tournament payout with the Missouri Valley Conference.

"It will help with the athletic budget cuts because we are striving to reduce the general fund subsidies to the athletic department and so when you get these funds from the NCAA because of our basketball success, it is very meaningful," Allen said.

But maybe more meaningful, Allen says, is the off-the-court character of the team and its coach.  He says that's what could bring more potential students to cedar falls from beyond the state's borders.

"How we win, how we play, how well the team is coached is very positive, reflects the values of this institution, so I think that is more meaningful is they get a glimpse of who we are by these young men playing the game," said Allen.

Now the question is how many more games will we see the Panthers play? President Allen hopes the Panthers can make it to the final four. That's because it's in his hometown of Indianapolis.

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