Rally around our basketball teams and collectively enjoy the moment

It’s that time of year when postseason college basketball grabs our attention and draws us into the drama and excitement of March Madness.

Last year at this time, when the pandemic hit, the NCAA tournament was one of its first casualties, and our teams, like all others, didn’t get the chance to compete for a spot in “The Big Dance”.  

This year is different and especially exciting for CSU, as our Vikings men’s basketball team won a record number of games in the Horizon League, finished tied for first place in their conference and earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

We are so proud of what Coach Dennis Gates and our young men have accomplished – both on and off the court. 

Which brings us to why I am reaching out today. I’m asking for your support as our teams continue to compete – our women’s basketball team is playing in the conference tournament, too – and to share some thoughts on why college athletics is so important to our university and our entire “engaged learning” experience at CSU. 

Our more than 330 student athletes, who come from 32 states and 18 countries, represent an incredibly vibrant part of our campus. They excel academically, market our brand across the country when they compete and build strong connections to CSU that make them the No. 1 group of alumni who give back.

A highly structured, wide-ranging intercollegiate sports program isn’t just about sport, but creating another learning “hub” where students can experience something special.

For the majority of schools like Cleveland State, the term “student-athlete” is real, and the student-athlete experience is meaningful and life-changing. 

So, when we have a season like this, and the opportunity to collectively celebrate this success, it’s important we enjoy the moment and remember that our student-athletes represent some of the best of what we teach, what we learn and what we do every day to change lives.  

Our women’s basketball team plays a first-round game on Thursday, February 25 (watch here), and the men play Tuesday, March 2 (watch on ESPN+, listen at

Let’s rally around our teams – and enjoy the moment with them.

Go Vikes!