As Mark Cuban looked for ways to help the Dallas Mavericks gain a competitive advantage in the NBA, the Indiana University graduate thought his alma mater should get in on the ground floor.
On Friday, the school announced that Cuban had made a $5 million donation for a state-of-the-art technology center that will benefit students, fans and, of course, his beloved Hoosiers.
Athletic director Fred Glass said the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will be built inside the renovated Assembly Hall, home of Indiana's basketball program, and will give the Hoosiers the distinction of being the first school in the country to use 3-D multi-camera technology and virtual reality with Cuban saying some of the technology is not even yet available commercially.
"As we were going through the process with 3-D and virtual reality, Fred was smart and said why not do this just with the Mavericks? Why not do this with Indiana University and give them a competitive advantage?" Cuban said.
Cuban, who had been looking for a way to help his alma mater, thought it made sense.
Some technology should be available as soon as this basketball season, Glass said, noting that the Hoosiers could conceivably give recruits their first real look at the campus with a virtual reality tour. An athletic department spokesman said approximately 150 students from various departments including communications and infomatics also will work in the center — a number that is expected to increase over time.
The athletic department also plans to use "FreeD" camera angles on its video boards at football and basketball games, and, of course, coaches will now have new options in game preparation.
"We'll be the first university in the country to use these technologies," Glass said.
It is expected to be fully operational when the Assembly Hall renovations are completed in 2017.
The only downside was that Cuban didn't want it named after him.
"People always say to me why don't you do this or why don't you put your name on a building," Cuban said while wearing a crimson Indiana baseball hat. "I always felt like putting your name on a building was something you did for dead people, so you'd be remembered. But they insisted."