Jackrabbit pride is running rampant on the SDSU campus following another title run in the Summit League tournament. Both the men's and women's teams captured championships in Sioux Falls Tuesday, punching their ticket to the NCAA national tournament, for the second year in a row. Success on the court also means a win in the classroom.
SDSU student-athletes aren't just blessed with sports smarts. 13-percent of them are pursuing degrees in the challenging field of engineering, including basketball star Megan Waytashek, who's a mechanical engineering major. SDSU's Summit League success is all academic.
There's an extra Jackrabbit hop in the step of SDSU students on the heels of another Summit League basketball championship.
"First week back from spring break, so everybody just got done having fun, now we're back in school-mode and with the Jacks winning, it just helps you to be really high-spirited," SDSU sophomore Ashley Bietz said.
The potential for a Summit League dynasty is a powerful recruiting tool for prospective students who are on-the-ball in the classroom.
"There's not a lot of Division One programs that open up all of their majors to their student-athletes like SDSU does, everything from nursing, pharmacy, engineering, they're all there to the students," SDSU Associate Dean of Engineering Rich Reid said.
More and more students who come from Summit League college towns are enrolling at SDSU, showing the drawing power of a tournament title.
"The bigger geographic footprint we can draw those students from, the better for us," Reid said.
This is the time of year when high school seniors across the country get serious about choosing a college to attend in the fall. Many are no doubt, leaning toward SDSU, with a Jackrabbit tournament title fresh on their minds.
"It's a lot of publicity and advertising we just can't buy," Reid said.
Reid says South Dakota's strong economy is another big selling point for SDSU in recruiting students who will be looking for jobs once they graduate.