Peacock Pride Was More Than Just About Basketball
By now we know that even for the ultimate Cinderella when it comes to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament there becomes a time when the glass slipper doesn’t fit. For tiny Saint Peter’s University that time was around 7pm on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in an unlikely “Elite 8” matchup that could have been billed “Blue Bloods” vs. “Blood, Sweat & Tears.” North Carolina, a part of college basketball royalty had too much talent and poise for the Peacocks who had ruined the party for the likes of Kentucky and Purdue on their way to the East Regional final. Nothing against the team that wins the National Championship next Monday but this year’s event will likely be remembered for the “Peacock Power” that the school from Jersey City showed on the court and the growing fan base from across the state and country that jumped on their bandwagon.
Saint Peter’s basketball success may be somewhat short lived especially if Shaheen Holloway leaves in the next few days to take the job at his alma mater Seton Hall. However the impact on the school itself will last for years to come and is the latest example of why sports can be great. I would like to say sports is great but we know that is not always the case especially on the college level where corruption, greed and cheating too often steals headlines.
In this case what Saint Peter’s has done is great for the university itself. Interest and applications are on the rise and while the school has already accepted about 85% of its class for the fall they are keeping the remainder open and will likely have a much greater pool to select from. Stronger academic classes raise the profile of the school and in the case of the NCAA Tournament will bring in additional revenue which is important when 99% of full-time undergraduates qualify for some type of financial aid. The only Jesuit college in the state can expect to see donations, especially those from alumni increase as their Peacock pride rises to a level not seen before.
As one for does not necessarily root for college teams in this state outside of Monmouth University I admit to getting caught up in all of this. More importantly my wife who is not a big sports fan had planned our schedule on game days around what time Saint Peter’s is playing. It was 5:05 Sunday and unfortunately it was the last one on this incredible journey which made Jersey City a hotspot for basketball the past ten days…who could have imagined that?
Saint Peters makes the Elite 8