The excitement of local basketball fans is on the rise as the UNCW Seahawks prepare to play in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, and so are this year’s pledges to the university’s athletics fundraising club.
Giving to the Seahawk Club is up nearly 12 percent year-to-date over the same period during the last fiscal year, according to figures from the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Division for University Advancement.
In fiscal year 2016 from July 1 to Feb. 28, the club had received $1.42 million, while this fiscal year through Feb. 28, the club had received $1.59 million.
The amount was $1.07 million for the same period in 2015. UNCW’s advancement office also reported that a number of commitments have been made in recent weeks.
During the 2016 calendar year, the Seahawk Club eclipsed 2,000 members, resulting in record contributions for student-athlete scholarships, according to a recent release from UNCW.
UNCW is hosting a viewing party for the community to cheer on the 12th-seed Seahawks, coached by Kevin Keatts, as they face the 5th-seed University of Virginia Cavaliers in Orlando, Florida. Tip-off is at 12:40 p.m., and the doors at Trask Coliseum will open at 11:40 a.m., the release said.
“The support this community has shown our Seahawks has been truly inspiring,” said Chancellor Jose Sartarelli in the release.
UNCW will be the No. 12 seed for the first time in six NCAA Tournament appearances after playing against Duke in last year's tournament as a No. 13 seed.