By Tamara Draut
March 16, 2006 - 11:55am ET
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It’s March Madness, baby . And on the heels of the much celebrated—and much gambled—NCAA tournament, a new ad campaign was announced yesterday. Not by Nike, or Adidas or Wilson. But by the American Council on Education. Yes, the American Council on Education, along with hundreds of colleges, is launching a new multi-year public campaign to raise awareness of the broad social benefits provided by higher education. The goal of the effort is to make people realize that colleges provide public benefits, not just private or individual ones.
What does this have to do with basketball? It turns out that the NCAA has donated major media time to the campaign, with over 20 commercials appearing during the tournament. The ads will also air during other programs on Fox, CBS and ESPN. Explaining the NCAA’s support for the campaign, Myles Brand, the NCAA president said it was important to raise awareness of the dire situation facing higher ed. “An educated populace is key to making a democracy work,” he said.
Apparently, the president of the NCAA has a better grip on the vital role higher education plays in society than our president, our members of Congress and our state legislators—all of whom have played a role in slashing funding for higher ed and financial aid over the last two decades. Here’s hoping they’re basketball fans.
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