by Lynsey Jeffery
Delta Upsilon, a University of Maryland fraternity chapter, held its second annual NCAA Tournament Madness bracket challenge from March 12 to March 16. But the challenge was about more than just basketball: it was about charity.
The proceeds from the event would be split in half: 50 percent would be given to three winners with the most accurate brackets at the end of the tournament, and 50 percent would be donated to Delta Upsilon’s charity, Global Service Initiative (GSI).
Global Service Initiative is a charity whose main focus is sending DU fraternity brothers to Jamaica to build infrastructure. Maryland’s DU has never been able to send a brother to Jamaica due to lack of funding, and it is one of their main goals going forward.
“To be able to send some of our guys down there, to be able to be immersed in that culture of Jamaica, get to know these kids and see how much you can help them is something we really want to be a part of and really strive for.” said Cameron Spruill, a junior civil engineering major and public relations chair for Tournament Madness.
DU hopes to send two brothers to Jamaica on the next trip.
Spruill believes the tournament is unique because it is not simply a charity or a sports event. “One of the things that entices people about this [tournament] is that they can have money go toward a great cause or charity but still win,” he said.
This year, Tournament Madness raised about $425 to give to GSI. Last year, the tournament was considerably smaller. This year, it grew from about 40 participants to 85 participants, Spruill said.
The idea for the fundraiser came from Spruill and fellow DU brother Liam Beatus. Beatus is a junior journalism major and chaired Tournament Madness.
Beatus and Spruill both created NCAA brackets with their families growing up and consider themselves big basketball fans. Spruill said the event was a feasible fundraiser Delta Upsilon could undertake that would raise money and get the fraternity’s name out to people without the risk of a major loss in investment funds if the event was not effective.
In addition to raising money, Beatus sees bracket-making as an initiative for people to learn more about college basketball and have fun. When making a bracket “you might do a little bit of extra research, you’ll know a little bit more going into it. It either gives the casual fan more knowledge, or it gives someone a reason to watch college basketball at all,” he said.
The $10 price has held steady since last year. Beatus said the price was the right amount to create to a large enough donation to GSI while still encouraging people to participate and buy more than one bracket if they wanted.
Participant Courtney Cole, a junior nursing major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore described the price as very reasonable. Cole also noted that the donation to GSI was a big part of the reason she chose DU’s tournament over others.
“I’m not an avid basketball fan,” she said. “It was more for the charity and the fun of it.”
Spruill said what the fraternity hopes to improve in the future is enticing non-sports fans to participate, for charity and fun. “It’s a good time. I think everyone involved in it enjoys it,” he said.