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As San Diego State tipped off against UConn in the national championship game on Monday night, 700 Aztecs were in the stands on the school’s dime. It was a pretty cool gesture.
San Diego State, a California state university located inside of a city, has a student population of about 34,000. The campus is located approximately 1,500 miles away from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, home of the 2023 Final Four.
Getting to the Final Four from America’s Finest City was doable, but not necessarily easy. It required a flight and a place to stay, in addition to the ticket. And for a college student, that ain’t cheap.
So the school itself decided to help out. The Aztecs had never played in the NCAA Tournament semifinal, let alone the final. Head coach Brian Dutcher’s team made history this year and university officials wanted to be sure that their students were there to experience the monumental run.
To do so, San Diego State held a lottery
Every student was eligible to enter, only 700 were selected.
By luck of a random draw, 175 students were selected to take a roundtrip charter flight to Houston. The other 525 received $500 to be used toward travel costs.
To say that they were excited come Monday night would be an understatement. Where much of the Huskies’ student section rolled in closer to tipoff, the Aztecs were already in their place under the basket.
They even took a play out of Jerome Tang and Kansas State’s playbook by clapping along to Lil Baby.
Although San Diego State is not the first school to bank roll its student section to a big game, it doesn’t make it any less cool. And while 700 students getting a couple of hundred dollars is not a huge deal financially, especially with how much money they are paying in tuition, let’s just appreciate the gesture for what it is. Shoutout to the powers that be in San Diego for getting it right.