This past Tuesday, April 5, 2022, key members of the Saint Peter’s Cinderella basketball team in the NCAA March Madness tournament officially entered the transfer portal. Specifically, Junior guards Doug Edert, Daryl Banks III, and Matthew Lee each decided to search for a new team for the 2022-2023 season. Id.
Their decision to enter the transfer portal comes less than a week after their former head coach, Shaheen Holloway, officially left the Saint Peter’s program to become the head coach at his alma mater Seton Hall. It appears that these players are looking to maximize their value, both athletically and financially, following the success of their historic run. Under the new player compensation reality of college athletics, this move may be the new norm for players on teams that make Cinderella-type runs like Saint Peters.
Saint Peter’s entered the NCAA March Madness Tournament through an automatic bid after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (“MAAC”). Officially, they began the tournament as a #15 seed and were matched up against #2 seed University of Kentucky, a blue-blood of college basketball. Not only did Saint Peter’s accomplish the impossible by beating Kentucky, but they also rode their magic to two more tournament upsets. Specifically, Saint Peter’s defeated #7 seed Murray State in the Round of 32 and then upset Purdue in the sweet sixteen. Ultimately, their magic ended as they lost to the eventual runner-up and #8 seed University of North Carolina.
Value of the Run for the University
By playing four games in the NCAA March Madness Tournament, Saint Peter’s had earned four NCAA Tournament distribution units for their conference; the MAAC. It is estimated that each unit is valued at around $330,000 for the tournament this year. Id. Therefore, the MAAC will receive $330,000 x 4 ($1,355,548) as a tournament payout. Id. This payout will occur over a six year period.
Further, the Cinderella run by the team earned them millions in advertising exposure. Specifically, Saint Peter’s earned advertising value through the marketing of the teams run via newspapers, digital and social media, television, and radio. Id.
Value of the Run for Coach Shaheen Holloway
In addition to the institution gaining national recognition and financial reward, Coach Shaheen Holloway immediately reaped the benefits of the Cinderella run. Shortly after the Saint Peter’s team was eliminated by the University of North Carolina, Seton Hall University offered Coach Holloway a 6-year deal that is rumored to be just over $2 million. This appears to be over a million dollar raise for Coach Holloway, as he made roughly $300,000 while at Saint Peter’s prior to taking a pay cut during the pandemic.
The success of the Saint Peter’s team led to Coach Holloway’s new contract, and financial reward for the institution. Under the old-NCAA regulations, that is all who would have benefited. In the new player compensation era of college athletics, players can now maximize the national platform they helped build. This is how it should be.
Value of the Run for the Players
Now, the players too can maximize their athletic and financial potential while continuing to play college athletics. Doug Edert had already reaped the benefits of the team’s success during the magical run. Specifically, Edert had signed a Name, Image, and Likeness (“NIL”) deal with Buffalo Wild Wings the week after their upsets during the first two rounds. Further, it appears that Edert also found a new home; Edert announced on Saturday April 9, 2022, that he would be transferring to Bryant University for the 2022-2023 season. The combination of the easily accessible transfer portal, with opportunities for player compensation may make a Cinderella-to-Transfer option more realistic in the new NCAA.
Overall, taking a 10,000-foot perspective, the Cinderella run by the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team has improved the institution’s financial position, the coach’s professional and financial position, and now can improve the players’ athletic and financial position. The player compensation era of college sports is working.