Nonconference games bolster athletic department's coffers

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Southeast was paid $85,000 for playing in the Chicago tournament.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team did not fare as well as it hoped during the Chicago Invitational Challenge, winning one of four games.

But the Redhawks were well compensated.

For competing in the eight-team event, Southeast received $85,000. Minus expenses, that money goes to the university's general athletic department revenue.

So will the $60,000 the Redhawks receive for playing at Bradley this Saturday, and the $60,000 they get for visiting Tulsa on Dec. 22. That's a grand total of $205,000.

"We're doing our part to help out," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "We're bringing in more [money] than anybody in the OVC."

Most low-to-mid-level Division I athletic programs like Southeast generate a sizable amount of revenue by having its men's basketball and football teams play so-called guarantee games.

They are thusly termed because larger programs pay out a guaranteed sum of money in exchange for what they expect to be wins.

Southeast's football team received $250,000 for playing at Cincinnati this season. Next year the football squad visits Missouri for a similar amount.

As for the basketball Redhawks, they were manhandled at Xavier (90-59) and Illinois State (90-71) in the first two rounds of the Chicago Invitational Challenge, which is where the tournament money came from.

Those losses were not unexpected because the Redhawks were heavy underdogs in each contest.

But Southeast had realistic expectations of winning both its games once the event moved to the neutral site of the Sears Centre in suburban Chicago.

Those hopes were dashed with Friday's 102-99, double-overtime loss to Coppin State. The Redhawks bounced back Saturday to beat Longwood 82-78.

"It was good for us," Edgar said of the tournament. "To get four games ... game experience against good competition."

Lack of atmosphere, Part II

If the Redhawks thought there was not much atmosphere for Friday's Chicago Invitational Challenge game, that was nothing compared to Saturday's contest.

After there were about 200 fans in the stands at the 10,000-seat Sears Centre for Friday's 2:30 p.m. tipoff, there were roughly 30 fans in attendance for Saturday's 11:30 a.m. start.

"We're used to a lot of fans when we play at home," sophomore point guard Roderick Pearson said. "It was different."

Added senior swingman David Johnson: "You just have to come out and play no matter who's out there, even if there's one person."

Of course, the feature contests both days were in the upper bracket of the tournament, when the games were held in the evening.

Several thousand fans watched Friday night's semifinal between nationally ranked Indiana and Illinois State, and a similar crowd was expected for Saturday night's championship between Indiana and Xavier.

OVC almost here

The Redhawks will have two more games to get ready for the start of conference play.

Southeast (3-3) visits Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night and Bradley on Saturday night.

The Louisiana Tech contest is a return for last year's home BracketBuster matchup, which Southeast lost 72-56.

Southeast begins its Ohio Valley Conference schedule with two home dates, Dec. 6 against Tennessee State and Dec. 8 against Tennessee Tech.

That will be part of Hall of Fame weekend for the university, which will induct a new Hall of Fame class Dec. 7 at the Show Me Center.

Among the inductees will be the 1985-86 men's basketball team coached by Ron Shumate that finished second in the Division II national tournament.

Tickets for the induction ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. with a reception, are $20 and available to the public.

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