UIndy prepares for television spotlight

On Thursday, Oct. 30, the University of Indianapolis football team will face off against the Pumas of Saint Joseph’s College. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Sue Willey, and many others, such as Student Affairs, have partnered to prepare for the game and create a theme for the fans.

“We are purchasing 4,000 black T-shirt; it’s going to be a blackout game.,” Willey said. “We feel like people are going to be excited. The NCAA is excited since they are right here [in Indianapolis].”

The Pumas are currently 5-2 on the season, with both of their losses coming from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

CBS Sports has never featured UIndy in a Thursday night game within the nine years that they have been airing Division II football.

“Saint Jo is pretty good. We almost lost to them at their place last year. It was right down to the last minute,” Willey said. “Hopefully it is going to be a good game. They are also the closest team to us, so I think having two Indiana teams in Division II football, the only two in the state, makes for a great story. Saint Jo has at least 300 people coming to tailgate before [the game]. I am sure that we’ll show up and find fashion. We are looking for a great atmosphere.”

President Robert Manuel has high expectations for the upcoming game.

“I think that it’s a terrific opportunity for the university and all that we have to offer,” Manuel said. “Not just football and the athletic traditions we have, but the student support and service aspects of what we do. It’s a chance to broadcast what we do here on campus across the country.”

With many departments and organizations across the campus making preparations, Manuel has very high expectations for the game and the coverage, and hopes for the university to be shown at its best on the big stage.

“We are honored to be asked by the NCAA to host one of these games and really grateful that they would think we should be one of the teams that would be on their weekly show,” Manuel said. “I hope the nation can see the uniqueness of the education and the students and the faculty all the work that we do here.”

According to a June 6 press release from the NCAA, the game will be the last of only seven Division II games to appear nationally this year.

Though division II sports rarely get national coverage, there are a number of professional players drafted out of schools with division II programs every season. The most notable of these players are Eugene Sims of the St. Louis Rams (West Texas A&M University) and Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts (South Dakota State).

There are also plans to advertise the university during the game to further increase visibility.

“There is a video spot that will be aired in thirty second increments throughout the show,” Manuel said. “The video shows our students interacting with our faculty and shows a lot about the university and what we are known for academically.”

Aside from the players, the University will also get a lot of coverage above the normal level of a division II program.

“Because this is on a national network, it goes to 100 million homes. Obviously seeing the product that far and wide is great,” Willey said. “We are getting it out regionally, but this is national. It’s a great time for UIndy to show what a great institution it is and what a great program we have.”

The NCAA will also be presenting the annual check to their division wide sponsor, the Make A Wish Foundation.

In 2012, NCAA Division II Athletics raised nearly a half of a million dollars for the organization.

After the Thursday night competition, the Greyhounds will next be in action against Missouri University S&T on Nov. 8 with kickoff scheduled for at 2 p.m.