The 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, including Xavier University, are using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness about their unique educational mission. With the beginning of the basketball season in November, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) began spearheading an initiative called the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight (JBS) to inform the public about Jesuit institutions’ mission and their academic excellence.
More than 90 games in the 2008-09 season have been identified in which men’s and women’s basketball teams from the 28 institutions play each other. The Association is using these games to: offer messaging on Jesuit education to be read in the arenas of the games between Jesuit teams; provide messaging to be read during game broadcasts and telecasts; present advance media with text they can use that identifies the shared mission between the two schools playing that game; and offer ideas for further presenting the messaging during the games, including on-air interviews during halftime.
“Although our institutions differ in their size, location and programs, they all share the same Jesuit heritage, a commitment to strong academics, social justice, service and leadership,” said Fr. Charles Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. “Since Jesuit basketball is admired and highly visible, we knew we had a great opportunity to reach various audiences through these JBS games to highlight the mission of Jesuit higher education today.”
The Jesuit basketball season opened on Nov. 16 with College of the Holy Cross competing against Saint Joseph’s University. In the 11 games played in November, the initiative was publicized through several different outlets, including game note listings, arena announcements, radio network coverage, scoreboard displays, a radio interview and one national television hit. No less than 26,486 total spectators heard the arena announcements.
In addition to the coverage during game operations, the project has received various web hits from Jesuit college and university websites as well as national media sites, including Fox Sports.
“The concept of promoting the academic strength and good work of our institutions through our basketball programs is a way of merging the curricular with the extra-curricular,” said Melissa Collins Di Leonardo, AJCU’s director of communications. “The JBS project shows an appreciation for the value of the competition of Jesuit basketball, without losing sight of the rich intellectual and spiritual history of Jesuit higher education.”
As the 2008-09 basketball season progresses, the JBS national steering committee will track JBS outreach and will monitor the project's media coverage. For more information, visit the project web site at www.ajcunet.edu/jesuitbasketball.
Member Jesuit institutions include: Boston College, Canisius College, College of the Holy Cross, Creighton University, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Le Moyne College, Loyola College Maryland, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Marquette University, Regis University, Rockhurst University, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Louis University, Saint Peter’s College, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Spring Hill College, University of Detroit Mercy, University of San Francisco, University of Scranton, Wheeling Jesuit University, Xavier University.