A 12 year long quest ends at AU
With Bender Arena his final destination, Craig Caswell accomplishes goal of seeing all 363 Division I teams
There are currently 363 Division I men’s basketball teams in the NCAA, but seeing every single DI team play is a feat previously thought to never have been accomplished. That is until 32-year-old Craig Caswell finished his exciting 12 year mission at American University for his 364th game.
A Bowling Green State University alumnus, Caswell was inspired when he was able to sit courtside at his own University’s basketball game, a sport he had never been a huge fan of growing up. He finished the journey that had taken him over a decade on Deb. 18, when AU's men's basketball team played Lehigh.
“It was incredible. It was unprecedented access for me, someone who didn’t have a lot of money to spend on sports tickets growing up. I fell in love instantly,” Caswell said.
Caswell’s first years of watching basketball were spent following Bowling Green as they played against their Mid-American Conference opponents, traveling to schools like Akron or Kent State to watch them play.
Mid-way through his junior year, Craig became interested in basketball outside of the Mid-American conference.
“That was when I articulated for the first time, you know, I think I can do this, I think I can see every team in Division I,” Caswell said.
Caswell had that revelation 12 years ago, and since then he has attended 364 games, including Savannah State, who has since been reclassified as a Division II school.
Caswell lamented on the difficulties of the classifications of NCAA teams changing.
“I had seven teams left to finish my goal, but the NCAA added five more teams to Division I, so I had to add five more games to my schedule.” Caswell said.
In his biggest year, Caswell attended 58 games in a season. The year prior to that he attended 57. But most years, Caswell aimed to attend 31 games, about a full season.
AU was originally not the plan for Caswell’s last game. Caswell’s wife, Jaclyn, had accompanied him for over two-thirds of his trips. Their goal was to travel to the campus of the final team to celebrate, and Jaclyn had Hawaii in mind for their last game.
In 2019, Hawaii came east of the Mississippi for the first time in a decade, and Caswell attended their game against the University of Illinois.
“[Jaclyn] was woefully disappointed. But we’re happy the last game is here at AU,” Caswell said.
On Feb. 18, at the men’s basketball team’s game against Lehigh University, Caswell finished his quest he set out 12 years ago to accomplish, making AU the 364th team he has watched compete.
“I got treated to what became a good game. AU unfortunately came up short but it was still an excellent game and I had a fantastic time,” Caswell said.
This was Caswell’s first time at American University. His travel around the country has taken him to over a third of Division I college campuses.
“I really enjoyed Bender Arena, it’s really charming. AU has an absolutely gorgeous campus and everyone has been really really kind. It’s been great to visit here,” Caswell said.
Although he’s accomplished his goal of seeing every men’s Division I team play, Caswell is looking to see more arenas in the future.
“I’ve got a number of venues I really want to visit, I really want to go to Pauley Pavillion, Madison Square Garden, the Palestra and the Phog Allen fieldhouse. Those are the big four that I’m tracking next,” Caswell said.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings and Nina Heller. Copy editing by Isabelle Kravis, Sophia Rocha,