There's A Publicly-Traded Company Playing In March Madness

There's A Publicly-Traded Company Playing In March Madness

The 2021 March Madness Tournament kicked off on Thursday night with a round of play-in games to round out the field of 64 teams.

This year’s NCAA Basketball tournament will feature a publicly-traded company as one of the competitors for the first time.

What To Know: Grand Canyon University will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday evening in a 15-seed versus 2-seed matchup.

The appearance by Grand Canyon University marks the first time a formerly for-profit contestant has appeared in the field of 64 teams, according to Sportico. Grand Canyon University became a Division I school in 2017 after a four-year process.

In 2018, Grand Canyon Education Inc LOPE sold off certain assets to a new non-profit group which is now Grand Canyon University.

The majority of the governing educational bodies have recognized the transition of Grand Canyon University moving from a for-profit school to a Division I non-profit educational organization. The holdout remains the Department of Education, which denied the non-profit bid last year citing the ongoing services with the publicly traded Grand Canyon Education.

Why It’s Important: An appearance in the NCAA March Madness Tournament can mean big dollars for the participating teams and their respective conferences.

While Grand Canyon is a long shot to win the game, the team could bring exposure to the university. This could help with enrollment and recruiting future athletes.

The effect of the 2021 March Madness Tournament could in turn help Grand Canyon Education stock. As part of the 2018 asset sale, Grand Canyon University pays 60% of its yearly tuition and fee revenue back to Grand Canyon Education in exchange for the education services provided.

The appearance by a company connected to a for-profit school also creates some debates about college athletes being paid. In this case, the school and shareholders of a publicly-traded company could be profiting from the performance of the team.

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