Yes, times are tough. Everyone is looking to cut costs anywhere. Even athletic departments are not immune. That said, there are efficient cost reductions and there's being just plain cheap. Seton Hall has long been considered on the cheap side with their athletic department. They have skimped on academic support. They play their games off-campus. The college has been known to tap the athletic department budget to make up other budget shortfalls.
This move, however, takes the (undoubtedly moderately-priced and purchased from the supermarket) cake.
The university has decided not to send the pep band and cheerleaders to the Big East Tournament to save money. Apparently the cost of chartering a bus or maybe two to take that group of students barely nineteen miles to and from Madison Square Garden, was just too much money to spend.
According to Jerry Carino, a New Jersey sports writer and journalism professor, the school decided to do this after finding out that Cincinnati and maybe DePaul were not going to send their pep bands to the Big East Tournament, because of the cost of the flight and hotel for the band. All other programs in the Big East are sending their cheer squads and pep bands.
Apparently, Seton Hall felt that Cincinnati's absence provided sufficient cover not to send its own pep band and cheerleaders, despite only having to provide bus service. In the Seton Hall administration's collective mind, there was little difference between paying for airline tickets and hotel accommodations in New York City, as Cincinnati would have to do, and a local bus charter.
Yes, Seton Hall is a small school, and the present economic climate is difficult. If, however, they find that they can't afford to have their band and cheerleaders go to the conference tournament within easy driving distance, then it might be time for Seton Hall to reconsider if it should be playing Division I basketball in a major conference. Clearly the costs must outweigh the money they are making.