(BASIL JOHN / THE STATESMAN)
Island Federal Credit Union has entered a ten-year, $7 million contract that has given IFCU naming rights to the newly-renovated Arena on campus. Sabre Proctor (far left) and Jameel Warney (far right) represented the Seawolves women’s and men’s basketball teams respectively at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Arena on Oct. 3, 2014. (BASIL JOHN / THE STATESMAN)

When junior Jameel Warney and company tip-off the men’s basketball season in Stony Brook’s new 4,000-seat sports and entertainment complex on Nov. 14 against Columbia, they will no longer be doing so in a space called Stony Brook Arena. With the introduction of a $7 million corporate partnership on Tuesday, the first Seawolves basketball game will be held in Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

With the new partnership, many may wonder what the residual effects will be on Stony Brook’s student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans.

Just as important as the new signage that the athletics department is working on putting up to display the Island Federal Credit Union Arena name is the relationship to people outside of the university.

At some point, maybe not in the near but rather the distant future, one would think that the Seawolves will look to challenge themselves. Whether that will be by pursuing a place in a more distinguished conference than the America East and Colonial Athletic Association is tough to tell, but whoever looks at the department has something new to see.

Visiting the school’s Long Island campus and taking a tour of what was supposed to be called Stony Brook Arena, a state-of-the-art facility, is a lot more impressive with a name behind it. If and when the Seawolves make their pitch to join another conference, add more recruits and so on, things will look a lot more convincing with a sponsor behind one of the school’s biggest entities.

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A lot of what it takes for people to believe in a person, or in this case an entire university, is its support. When people see that Island Federal Credit Union was willing to put its name and reputation on one of the main attractions of the school’s campus that speaks volumes. Every time that a fan walks through the doors to see the Stony Brook men’s and women’s basketball team, they will know that a corporation was willing to associate with the efforts that those teams put in.

With Stony Brook receiving $7 million out of the arrangement, Island Federal Credit Union hopes to get something out of it as well. They have confidence in the Seawolves to perform well on and off the court, which in turn sustains their reputation, which is worth a ton.

One could only wonder if this is the first of many like-minded steps for Stony Brook. At some point in time, expansion of Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium will be brought up in conversation. Will that receive a corporate sponsor, and how will that look for the program?

Talking in theoretical scenarios, not to discredit the size of Island Federal Credit Union, but there are far larger and well-known companies out there. Will the leadership of those companies see the leap of faith that they took by making this seven-figure partnership and plunge even deeper into the water with more money for arguably a bigger project, such as the stadium?

For now, Columbia and Saint Peter’s come to Long Island on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 to play the men and women, respectively. It is those games themselves that will make this sponsorship count years down the road, one game at a time.

 

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