The Unexpected Run | Ethan Swidler
The fifteen seed St. Peter’s University out of Jersey City, New Jersey, has just made history in the College Basketball NCAA Tournament. They have become the first fifteen seed to ever make it to the “Elite 8” in the tournament. Along with being seeded and expected to lose the tournament in the first round of 64, the St. Peter’s Peacocks deal with some of the most adverse conditions in the Division 1 basketball world.
This team consists not only of players with the drive and the motivation to win this tournament, but also of coaches that care for their players and encourage them to be the best possible basketball player that they can be. I believe that the adverse conditions of this program have given them the ability to be better teammates and appreciate every moment that they can on and off the court. The Peacock’s gym, located in Jersey City, is about the same size or even smaller than the average high school gym. Their press conference room is in a yoga studio, because that was the only place near their gym that didn’t have children screaming in the pool or making loud noises. In their weight room, they cannot play music because the weight room is connected to the Physics 101 classroom. The coaches’ offices are often flooded with water, and the list goes on and on. This team is going up against programs with tens of millions of dollars in their yearly budget, versus the Peacocks that have a yearly budget of less than $250,000, and that includes the coaches’ salaries.
To most, it seems that this historic run in the biggest NCAA basketball tournament would give the Peacocks a chance to earn more money for their program next year. However, the amount of money that they receive for this run will be very underwhelming to most. So far, the program has earned $8.1 million, however, that is divided up between every school in their conference and given over a span of 6 years. The schools also tend to reinvest the money elsewhere. Saint Peter’s coach believes that they should get a majority of the money because they are doing all of the work. It seems unfair that the team that is doing all of the work and winning games, will get the same amount of money as the team that didn’t win any conference games this year and is out of the season already. The players said they hope that the publicity from this tournament can help their program grow in the future and give them the opportunity to create much better facilities and equipment.
The Peacocks play the UNC Tarheels on Sunday at 2 pm, this is a game of the 15 seed versus the 8 seed, and should be a great elite 8 matchup. Both teams have the ability to win this game and advance on to the final four. Hopefully, the Peacocks can continue this historic run and create the opportunity for their program to thrive in the future.
Update: St. Peter’s lost to UNC, 69-49.