BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota State University’s football team will be competing in the national championship on national television this Sunday. There’s a unifying element to a championship sports moment.
“Even people who aren’t necessarily avid sports fans are caught up in it, and so it just elevates the university,” said Steve Erpenbach, president and CEO of the South Dakota State University Foundation. “There are people all over the country that are following us.”
It prompts the question of whether this means more incoming donations.
“Well we certainly hope so, but I do think so,” Erpenbach said. “I think people like being a part of a university that is, frankly has a great trajectory, where things are, great things are happening. And that really does translate into people want to invest, they want to give back, they want to be a part of it.”
The spotlight on one of the school’s sports teams is an oppportunity.
“There’s a lot of things from a marketing perspective that we’re doing in concert with this to really try to drive attention to the university and create that kind of interest,” said Mike Lockrem, director of university marketing and communications for South Dakota State University. “At the end of the day it comes down to the quality of your academic programs, it comes down to the value you’re providing your, those students and the investment that they’re going to make and the value of that four-year degree.”
Most students here don’t play on the football team. But they, and the community around this school in Brookings and beyond, have a tie to that team about to fight to be champions.
“They find their way to sort of rally around that and think about what that means to them and their experience and their association with South Dakota State,” Erpenbach said. “You don’t have to be a big football fan to frankly understand just how meaningful this is to, not only to SDSU, but the state of South Dakota to be on the national stage like this.”