Are championship wins impacting UA enrollment? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Are championship wins impacting UA enrollment?

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The University of Alabama not only has the number one football team in the nation, it also has record attendance this year. Many students believe the success of the football program has served as great recruiting tool for the university.

"It's all about Bama." Saying Marisa Martin loves Alabama football.. would be an understatement. "I'm very superstitious. I wear the same outfit to every game. I've had the same shaker since my first game freshman year."

Now a sophomore, the Ohio native just returned from watching the tide win its 15th National Championship. And it's that notoriety that made the University of Alabama her number one choice and she's not the only one. Martin says "The 2 boys that live above me, one is from Boston. He applied here because Al won the 2009 national championship."

Some consider the success of the football team a great recruiting tool. Drew Pslughost says "I've grown up watching SEC football and definitely that was one of the reasons I came down here."

33,602 students attend the University of Alabama. That's up from 31,747 in 2011 when Alabama also won the National Championship. Joe Espy, a UA Trustee, says "The athletic program creates so many opportunities for academics and so many opportunities for contributions and what Coach Saban is doing.. When he first came, everybody said we spent a lot of money. The investment has been returned over and over again."

But football isn't the only thing, the University is known for. There are 239 national merit scholars in the freshman class this year, that's up 32 percent from last year's ranking that made the University second in the nation among public universities. Martin says  "There are people here that could have gone to Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame, but they chose Alabama for a reason."

The University says the Fall 2012 Freshman class includes a record 6,397 students and is considered the best qualified Freshman class in UA history. Live in Tuscaloosa, Sherrie Evans ABC 33/40.

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