- End of the Bench
- St. Peter’s Headed to Sweet 16 After Successfully Laying Off 10% of Teaching Staff
St. Peter’s Headed to Sweet 16 After Successfully Laying Off 10% of Teaching Staff
JERSEY CITY, NJ - The St. Peter’s University men’s basketball team is celebrating its birth into the Sweet Sixteen of the 2022 NCAA Tournament and resting easier today knowing they can afford the flights to get there.
After a massive first-round upset of Kentucky followed by a win against tournament-darling Murray State, school administrators announced Tuesday they've decided to cut 10% of its teaching staff, roughly 100 professors and support staff, in an effort to fund the team’s continued unprecedented success.
“The fact is, we did not budget for more than one NCAA tournament game,” university president Eugene J. Cornacchia told reporters during a Tuesday morning press conference, “We only have about 2,300 full-time students at our school, so we don’t have that much money coming in to begin with. While we always support our teams and student-athletes, we also didn’t think they would be able to get past Kentucky in the first round, so we weren’t really worried about it.”
According to the Department of Education, the school spent around $1.6 million on its men’s basketball program this season, a budget that puts the Peacocks in the bottom five of all-tournament teams and makes them by far the lowest of the 16 remaining teams.
By comparison, Kentucky spent $18.3 million this year.
When pressed by reporters on the announcement, Cornacchia attempted to shift the focus to the team’s success.
“We wouldn’t have made this decision if we weren’t 100% committed to our team,” Cornacchia said. “While it saddens us to have to lay people off in this economic climate, we do believe it will serve as motivation for our boys. They now can see just how much we want them to succeed.”
Despite the unfortunate impact the cuts will have on the fired staff members, their families, or the students they taught, sports pundits around the country have praised the move.
“I think they should have cut 50% of the staff. The marketing this school will get from this is off the charts. Way more valuable to the university than the bottom 10% of their teaching staff," FOX Sports commentator Skip Bayless said on his show “Undisputed” Tuesday morning. "But answer me this, why stop there? Why not show this team you believe in them by committing to even deeper cuts? Every cent you spend on a teacher instead of the men’s basketball team is like a slap to the face of these kids.”
Upon hearing about the school’s plan to fund their incredible tournament run, star forward KC Ndefo expressed mixed feelings.
“Making it to the Sweet 16 is a dream I never thought I’d reach, so I’m thrilled that the school is able to support us, but it’s difficult knowing that more winning could lead to even more of our professors losing their jobs," Ndefo said. "My philosophy professor found out he was losing his job in the middle of class this morning. They even made him give up his laptop and laser pointer so they could sell them on Facebook Marketplace apparently. But like the coach always says, winning is the most important thing.”
The St. Peter’s Peacocks will play the Purdue Boilermakers Friday night at 8:09 EST on CBS.