Generally, the principle in higher education that unexpected sports success can draw increased attention to your school. Specifically, it refers to a jump in applications for admission.

On 23 November 1984, Boston College played Miami at the Orange Bowl (Miami's home field) in a nationally televised college football game. On a last second play, BC quarterback Doug Flutie threw a 48-yard touchdown pass, a Hail Mary, to wide receiver Gerard Phelan, for a shocking 47-45 win. Admissions applications to BC jumped substantially the following winter.

More recently, this happened to Virginia Tech as a result of its unexpected 1999 run to the national championship game, the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Admissions applications jumped by more than 14%, from 16,000 to 18,300. As a result, admissions standards went up significantly, and several good friends of mine who would have made it in the year before were rejected.

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