NFL Draft selections to produce tenfold for MU

Draft selections of Smith and Gabbert could lead to added benefits to various aspects of MU.

After a successful season like the Missouri football team had last fall, it is common for players to pursue opportunities beyond the college level.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert and defensive end Aldon Smith were both major components of last year’s team and are now moving on to the NFL. Both were selected in the top 10 of the NFL Draft last week.

As a result, Tiger fans are now more likely to send money in support of the program. Director of Development Communication Catey Terry said it is generally difficult to predict the amount of donations that goes toward the school on a yearly basis.

“The reality is that universities with winning football teams do receive small increases in donations to athletics, but not significant increases,” Terry said. “The small increases usually show up within the next season (in the form of) ticket and donation appeal.”

The true benefit of success on the field, Terry said, is the resulting publicity.

“What winning football teams and the publicity surrounding draft choices do impact is student recruiting,” she said. “In that sense, ESPN’s (College GameDay) and the Gabbert and Smith draft give (MU) incredible publicity.”

Mizzou Student Foundation spokesman Zach Wade said it was no secret that national athletic attention helps to spread the MU message.

“Students have high expectations of Mizzou when they enroll as freshmen,” Wade said. “They have seen the athletics and the spirit we have here on television and they've, by that time, found one of our many impressive programs here that they wish to pursue.”

One area that looks to benefit directly from this exposure is the football team itself. Maintaining a track record of young athletes continuing to establish careers in the NFL increases the interest in possible recruits to the team.

“This is something that you can absolutely point to as being true,” Athletic Department spokesman Moller said. “The bigger presence we have at the NFL level, the better it reflects on our program and thus, the more attractive it becomes to recruits.”

Moller also said though some might see this success as an added pressure to the team to continue to perform well, he does not necessarily see it that way.

“I believe that everyone in the program already has a very high level of expectation for themselves individually, as well as the team overall,” he said. “They expect to perform at a high level.”

Looking toward the future, Moller said he predicts even greater success for the football team.

“This team wants to carry on the tradition that has been established in the last several years,” Moller said. "They want to elevate it to even greater heights.”

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