VCU Basketball Will Do Remarkable Things Off The Court.

The success of the VCU basketball team has inspired the university.

The success of the VCU basketball team is growing the VCU brand in all areas. This phenomenon is exactly what Seth Godin talks about in his book “Purple Cow.”  Godin says to be successful, a brand must be remarkable. How does “Purple Cow” connect with VCU and the basketball team?

Joey Rodriguez celebrates victory over Kansas. Photo of Richmond Times-Dispatch on 03/28/2011

For those not familiar with VCU, it’s a big university with big university accomplishments and with a community college brand. The alumni are minimally active. The students wear t-shirts and hoodies from other colleges more often than VCU t-shirts and hoodies. But, this week VCU students are wearing yellow and black like never before. And I bet the VCU development directors (fundraisers) are having crazy success.

Shaka Smart (VCU head coach) and the basketball team finally has captured the imagination of the nation. The black-and-yellow VCU Rams are a purple cow. The basketball team is remarkable – something to talk about.

The basketball team is giving VCU a national reputation. In turn… The team is finding jobs for alumni who are out of work. The team is increasing the number of admission applications next year. The team is hiring more faculty. The team is providing more scholarships. The team is funding more research. Purple cows inspire amazing things.

Can the VCU basketball team create a VCU football team?

The success of the VCU basketball team has added more fuel to the argument in favor of a VCU football team. A remarkable basketball team does not mean a remarkable football team. The buzz created by the basketball team comes from their success in the NCAA Tournament. If the university was going to invest in a football team to the extent that the team would be remarkable — competitive at the national level (like Virginia Tech, Florida State, Texas, and Michigan) — then it makes sense to talk about VCU football in the same conversation with VCU basketball (this year).

Unfortunately, VCU will not invest the $50 million – $100 million needed to have a nationally ranked football program. And so the VCU football team will not be remarkable (like VCU basketball this year). While there are many good reasons why VCU should have a football team, using the success of the VCU basketball team to argue for a football team is not a rational argument. However, rational thinking is not why people do things. People (including university officials) do things for emotional reasons. The basketball team has inspired everyone associated with VCU. And so those in favor of bringing football to VCU should capitalize on the moment. Now’s the time to make an all-out blitz to push for Rams football.

Football isn’t the best investment for VCU right now. A smarter investment is put more money into getting the basketball team back into the Final Four. Invest in coaching, facilities, and recruiting for the basketball team. It’s a lot less than starting a football program, and it will be more purple (as in the cow).

Learn more about purple cows in this wonderful TED Talk.

Go Rams.