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Colleges now enhance game-day experiences with more luxury suites and better wireless connectivity in an effort to lure fans away from the comforts of home and to the stadium. See a slideshow here.

The madness of March swirls around the excitement of collegiate sports. The most successful Division I teams are competing for tournament wins—and the large cash payouts associated with those high-profile victories.

Fans pack the University of Kentucky arena for every basketball game, keeping ticket revenues high. (Photo: UK Athletics)

As one would expect, successful athletic programs benefit their college or university in a number of ways—particularly in the admissions arena. They raise public awareness of the school, reaching prospective students who may not otherwise have heard of or looked at the university, says Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions for the University of South Carolina.

Nayef H. Samhat, president of Wofford College, believes cost of attendance would limit athletics program options for students at schools like his. The Wofford’s men’s basketball team emerged from the 2014-15 season as Southern Conference regular season champions and Southern Conference Tournament champions.

Several prominent Division I conferences (including the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA) have expressed support for cost of attendance, and Division I schools such as the University of Virginia and The University of Alabama now provide it; but not all member schools are on board.

John Gerdy is author of "Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment." He also served as an NCAA legislative assistant and associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

Here’s a question every educational institution must consider. How do you continue to build and enhance the brand of an educational institution by focusing on an activity that scrambles kids’ brains?

Fans at a University of New Haven football game might notice an odd sideline sight: medical personnel with their heads hunched over smartphones. But these athletic trainers are not checking text messages or updating their Facebook status. Rather, they are monitoring real-time data about the force of their players’ on-field collisions.

Source: “Self-Reported Concussion among NCAA Student-Athletes,” NCAA, February 2014 (Click to enlarge)

Wrestling, ice hockey and football have the highest concussion rates among men's sports. Ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse top the list for women.

New football teams continue to take the field at colleges and universities each fall, overcoming criticism—from within higher ed and from outside—that sports programs not only suck up money desperately needed by academic departments but also drive up tuition and student fees.

Columbia College in Missouri is vastly expanding its athletics program, but  officials have no plans to add a football program.

The athletic department at Columbia College in Missouri will have tripled in size by the 2016-17 school year. But it has no plans to field a football team, says Cindy Potter, the associate director of athletics.

In 2012, the college—which has about 1,100 students attending class on its “day” campus and another 25,000-plus in various evening, extension and online programs throughout the country—added men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s soccer. By 2016, the Columbia Cougars will also compete in men’s and women’s track, and baseball.

The contemporary campus recreation center has graduated from yesterday’s dingy weight room. In fact, at many institutions, the rec center serves as a multipurpose space, hosting celebrations on special occasions and promoting student wellness in body and mind throughout the semester.