TU Pays The Price For Success

Saturday, April 5th 2008, 6:44 pm
By: News On 6

The shots have been falling for TU basketball lately.  Winning the inaugural College Basketball Invitational; victorious in of eight of their final 10 games.

Finishing first sometimes fetches a hefty price tag. The CBI charged $60,000 to host a home game.

Five home dates at the Reynolds Center cost the University of Tulsa a hefty $300,000.

"I don't feel like it was ever a risk for us," said TU basketball coach Doug Wojcik. "I think so much has been written about the $60,000. To make money you have to spend money. It's an investment. We could sit here in May and have all these marketing meetings and try to come up with all these ideas of how to get people in the stands and none of that's going to do what this tournament's done for us."

According to Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham, TU "will make a little money," on the tournament, but the price they've paid is hopefully an investment for the future.

"We haven't been in the postseason in five years. This gave us a great opportunity and a great experience for our players," said Cunningham.  "We think this can be a springboard into the NCAA Tournament next year."

While Tulsa took the plunge and played in the upstart CBI in front of record crowds, it didn't come without some apprehension from other schools and the NCAA, who own both postseason tournaments, the NIT and the NCAA Tournament.  

"The NCAA doesn't like competition and if I had a monopoly I wouldn't like competition either," said Rick Giles, President of the Gazelle Group. "The team's apprehension was ‘let's see how this goes and we don't want to be the people who take this first step.' The first step is always the hardest step."

"It's priceless," said Wojcik. "As it turns out we're going to make money on the deal."

Sometimes you can't put a price tag on success.

By Kyle Dierking, Video Journalist. Find more of his stories in our Web Exclusives section.