Colorado universities want to drive new revenue with athletic success

Tim Goral's picture

When Bob Kustra became president of Boise State University 10 years ago, only 7 percent of the school's student body came from outside of Idaho. Now, that figure is 21 percent, with 37 percent of the Class of 2016 from out-of-state.

The reason for the change? Kustra believes it was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, in which the Broncos won a thrilling 43-42 overtime contest against the University of Oklahoma and saw their star running back propose to his cheerleader girlfriend — all live on national television.

"When we won, I made a conscious decision to take that experience and leverage it with everything we do across the university," Kustra said. "Immediately, we had an application increase of 40 percent. We hired recruitment counselors and sent them to places we had never been before — California and Washington and Arizona and Nevada."

Similarly, the university's new business school is, in many ways, the result of Boise's success in football, Kustra said. The school launched its fundraising campaign on the heels of the win and exceeded its $175 million goal by more than $10 million.

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