NCAA's Cinderella Team Can Thank Ayn Rand

Jonathan Mahler: Florida Gulf Coast University embodies 'Atlas Shrugged'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2013 12:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Florida Gulf Coast University opened its doors less than 20 years ago, but school leaders already have succeeded in raising its national profile. How? Basketball and Ayn Rand, writes Jonathan Mahler at Bloomberg. Atlas Shrugged is required reading in the school's economics department, and if you're looking for a practical application of its concept of "rational self-interest," consider FGCU's strategy. It "understands implicitly the crass commercial calculations that the NCAA promotes," and it decided from the get-go to use sports, particularly basketball, to its advantage.

Fledgling colleges might want to pay attention. "Don’t waste your time wooing Nobel laureates to your faculty or trying to recruit National Merit Scholars to a college they’ve never heard of," writes Mahler. "Do what any self-respecting entrepreneur would do: Devote your resources to building a first-class Division I basketball program." The team's success is bringing boatloads of money and attention to the school, which in turn will help the rest of the university grow. Rand would be so proud. Click for Mahler's full column.

Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown, center, celebrates with teammates after their third-round win in the NCAA tournament. They play Florida Friday night.
Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown, center, celebrates with teammates after their third-round win in the NCAA tournament. They play Florida Friday night.   (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
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