NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Norfolk State University Spartans are already winning if you ask the president of the university.
"I call athletics 'the front porch,' and I call academics 'the living room,'" said Dr. Tony Atwater in a news conference Monday afternoon.
"The front porch can get the students in, but it is the living room, and the academics, that are the critical piece."
Atwater expects the school's applicant pool to increase by hundreds next year because of the success of the men's basketball program.
Atwater said alumni are also more likely to donate because they are energized by the team.
"There's something about athletics that galvanizes alumni more than anything else," said Dr. Atwater. "We saw that in Winston-Salem. Our alumni, you could see, there was a buzz throughout the tournament."
But the No. 15 seed is already paying off.
Athletic Director Marty Miller said NSU will receive around $300,000 for securing an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Miller said the number could increase significantly, depending on how far the Spartans go in the tournament.
"Sometimes people don't know about underdogs, and this is why you have upsets," said Miller.
But only time will tell if NSU can become a Cinderella story.
The Spartans will take on second-seeded Missouri Friday in Omaha, Nebraska. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:40 p.m..
Newport News Police need help solving a robbery.
The Coast Guard medevaced two people off Hatteras Island Thursday morning following the closure of the Bonner Bridge.
The Hampton and Division of Fire and Rescue is offering safety tips to reduce the chance of a fire in your home this holiday season.