Oral Roberts University became the story of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last night when the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles followed up their shocking first-round upset of Ohio State by knocking off Florida to reach the Sweet 16. In doing so, Oral Roberts University became the first 15-seed to reach the third round of the tournament since Florida Gulf Coast University did it way back in 2013. FGCU’s Cinderella story ended before they could reach the Elite Eight, but there is a different path laid out for this year’s Oral Roberts team. It is a golden path, but one that only I can lead us down, so long as you are willing to take my hand.
I speak now to the Oral Roberts University faculty, staff, students, boosters, and fans who have wished for their evangelical university to achieve athletic glory: Brothers and sisters, I bring good tidings. Last night, as I slept, I was visited by the lord God himself, Jesus Christ, just as the founder of your proud university was many times before. As he stood at the foot of my bed, resplendent in all his glory, our savior delivered unto me a message. He said to me, in a voice that sounded of the sweetest birdsong, that the mighty Golden Eagles will reach the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA men’s tournament, but only if I am able to raise $5 million.
Do you doubt this message, brothers and sisters of the Oral Roberts University community? I suppose I can’t blame you, as you don’t know me from Adam. But who are you to doubt the words and wishes of Jesus Christ, our king of kings? Did you doubt him when he appeared before Oral Roberts in 1987 and told the minister to raise $8 million from his congregation or die within a year? Perhaps you or your parents donated money to Roberts to help him reach that goal, and do you remember what happened after the good people of his flock opened their hearts and their wallets? He didn’t die until 2009.
So I ask you now: Why doubt the will of God today when you did not before? Because I am not a televangelist? Because my life is not on the line? Well, it could be! I mean, now that I think about it, Jesus may have mentioned something about the Golden Eagles getting knocked out of the tournament and me getting smushed by a car if I don’t raise this $5 million. Actually, yeah, now that I’m replaying the conversation in my head, he definitely said something about that. So, you know, take that into account when thinking about how you want to handle this.
Anyway, the point is that I am but a humble servant, just as Oral Roberts was, and I am simply trying to do what my lord asks of me. He has given us a great opportunity, and it would be a shame to turn away from his light now, when the Golden Eagles have already come so far. My Venmo is @Tom-Ley. We have until Saturday to raise that $5 million and punch our ticket to the Final Four. Once we do that, I’ll have another chat with Jesus about what needs to be done to make sure the Golden Eagles take home the national title.