Roos Win First in Postseason

LaVell Boyd wraps under the basket for the reverse layup. Photo by Jenalea Winter.

The Roos finished above .500 for the first time since the 2011 season and received an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Sponsored by the Gazelle Group, some call the CBI, “pay-to-play.”

Dashawn King draws back for a dunk. (Photo by: Jenalea Winter | U-News).

Dashawn King draws back for a dunk. (Photo by Jenalea Winter | U-News).

According to UMKC athletic officials, the school paid $40,000 to host a first-round home game, and be a part of March madness, even though it may not be in its traditional form.

UMKC is one of 16 Division I teams invited to the CBI that did not make the NCAA or NIT tournaments.

In attendance were 1,128 fans, students, and alumni  to see UMKC’s first post-season game and win last Wednesday since the team gained Division I status in the mid-80’s.

Celebrity guests including linebacker Derrick Johnson and receiver Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs in front row seats. Pitcher Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals has also watched the team play this season.

“We won’t have to pay any money out of our operating budget,” UMKC Athletic Director Carla Wilson said. “We decided to play in the CBI over other tournaments because we know if we don’t make that money, they would take it out of the future money, so there is no impact on our budget.”

Xavier Bishop dishing the ball to Steward for an easy bucket. (Photo by: Jenalea Winter | U-News).

Xavier Bishop dishing the ball to Kyle Steward for an easy bucket. (Photo by Jenalea Winter | U-News).

Wilson was referring to another tournament that the Gazelle Group will be sponsoring, The 2K

Classic, in which UMKC will be paid $120,000 to participate during the 2018 season. Any portion of the fees that were not recouped via ticket sales, sponsorships, or donations would have been deducted from the amount that the CBI will pay UMKC.

When UMKC accepted the CBI invitation, it was with the agreement that UMKC would only host one game. If the Roos would have hosted two home games, they would have owed $80,000 to the CBI.

“One of the things we did was make it clear to them that if we did get picked we could only do one game at home in those first two rounds,” Wilson said. “Even if the $80,000 comes out of the $120,000 we didn’t want to take that much revenue out of our future.”

Steward drives to the basket. (Photo by: Jenalea Winter | U-News).

Steward drives to the basket. (Photo by Jenalea Winter | U-News).

According to UMKC officials  $8,630 was collected in ticket sales, and another $17,500 in sponsorships/donations for Wednesday’s game. Since then there has been enough donations made to the program to cover the remaining balance said UMKC Director of Strategic Communication Tyler Koonce.

“I think it’s cool,” said Koonce. “There’s five seniors (LaVell Boyd, Kyle Steward, Broderick Newill, Dashawn King, and Darnell Tillman) who have that memory forever.”

After the quarter finals, the only amount paid to the tournament are home ticket sales. The CBI pays for the away team’s travel expenses.

Wilson feels as though the exposure UMKC Basketball has gotten since they announced they would be playing in this tournament is worth it.

Darnell Tillman receiving a fast-break pass. (Photo by: Jenalea Winter | U-News).

Darnell Tillman receiving a fast-break pass. (Photo by Jenalea Winter | U-News).

“We’ve had all the news stations coming to practices-doing interviews with our coaches, players, and myself” she said. “This year is the first time we’ve had stuff on the front page of the sports page in color. It’s just more and more exposure that has a non-tangible number on it.”

In addition, there has been a massive social media presence surrounding the team this year.

“We’ve had the mayor tweeting about it and the Chiefs tweeting about it as well,” Wilson said. “The social media reach has been crazy.”

Wilson looks at the CBI being beneficial to mid-major teams that typically only send one or two teams from their conference to the NCAA tournament. Teams get to play in a late march tournament to prepare and hopefully make the big dance next year.

“Look at Wichita State, they started out in one of these tournaments,” she said. “Then they go on to the NCAA and the final four and are doing well.”

Ashli Forbes

aforbes@unews.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *