Oh, so this is why MAAC administrators want their post-season tournament at a neutral site, a perceived "fair" setting for its teams to compete for an earn a berth to the NCAA tournament.
According to Kristi Dosh, who writes about sports business for ESPN, the "awareness" factor for schools previously not quite in the national consciousness (read Loyola and Iona from the MAAC this season) is worth millions of dollars, significant increases in student applications and even smarter students, according to various studies.
Dosh writes that no school can afford the kind of positive publicity a deep run into the tournament offers. Studies done for Butler University after it reached the NCAA's championship game the past two seasons show a combined publicity value for the university of about $1.2 billion.
According to Dosh, a 2007 study she cites showed that just making it to the men's NCAA tournament produces a 1 percent increase in admission applications the following year and that each round a team advantages increases the percentage.
And, the numbers tend to be larger for private schools than for public schools (MAAC schools are all private institutions).
Butler University experienced a huge 41 percent increase in applications after its 2010 run to that year's championship game. But, the benefits are felt even by teams eliminated early.
Reports cited by Dosh show that Central Connecticut State University saw application rates increase by more than 12 percent within a month after it was defeated in the first round of the 2000 tournament.
Rising application rates can also allow a school either to increase enrollment or be more selective in admitting students. Studies indicate that schools which do well in basketball are able to recruit an incoming class with 1 to 4 percent more students scoring above 500 on the math and verbal SAT and cam expect 1 to 4 percent more of their incoming students to score above a 600 on the math and verbal SAT.