Except for the Ivies, no school has anymore important brand tool than their athletic prowess at the undergrad recruiting level. For instance, take your beloved Gonzaga. A fine regional University (in full disclosure my father in law and his brothers are all GU grads, so I'll be careful what I say), but never a national Academic power. You have a couple of seasons on the national stages and applications go through the roof, non of which had anything to do with a change in academics. So, the market of applicants clearly values sports and therefore, so will schools/Idawa.