AD Peevy demonstrates athletics’ importance to Faculty Council, urges support


Kiersten Riedford

DePaul Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy said DePaul needs to do more to become a top-tier destination for student athletes coming out of high school.

DePaul Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy paid a visit to Faculty Council at the group’s meeting on Wednesday to discuss the importance of athletics at the university.

Peevy gave a presentation and spoke for around 30 minutes about the role athletics can play in improving DePaul’s national footprint. In speaking to the council, Peevy emphasized that there is a significant amount of work to get DePaul athletics to the standing that both he and the university want them to be and urged faculty to continue and increase their support.

“Right now, the front porch is raggedy and rundown. No one is looking at the house and stopping and saying this is where I want to live,” Peevy said, as he explained that currently, DePaul is not a top-tier destination for athletes coming out of high school. 

Improving the programs takes funding. Peevy explained this funding comes in several ways. Peevy said that getting more money into the athletic department can be done in several ways: through fundraising and donations, ticket sales, and the basketball team being in the national spotlight. 

“Now we’re talking about [making] fundraising efforts to really make a difference at DePaul… and really change this university to a place we want it to be,” Peevy said.

The AD also demonstrated how strong athletic programs directly influence academics and enrollment, areas of which faculty council is focused on improving.

Peevy cited the staggering application bumps school’s experience after their men’s basketball teams made the NCAA tournament.

“We just want to get to the tournament for the first time since 2004,” Peevy said. “Private schools that go to the tourney have a 6-8% increase in applications.”

In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast University received a 27.5% bump in applications after its team made the tournament. When Loyola Chicago made the final four in 2018, the school’s academic website experienced a 400% increase in traffic that spring.

Increased applications directly result in increased enrollment and a more competitive selection process, which raises a school’s academic standing. 

Faculty Council Officer and College of Communication Professor Matt Ragas was quick to praise the efforts Peevy and his staff has made in the community since taking over DePaul’s athletic program in 2020.

 “I’ve seen [Peevy and staff] doing much more in the community [than in years past] since I’ve been at DePaul,” Ragas said. 

Faculty members in attendance voiced consideration that current DePaul athletes are receiving adequate academic guidance. Mary Mindak, an associate professor at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business, asked Peevy if he feels that athletes are receiving sufficient support from faculty.

“We have student athletes coming in with a much higher academic profile than I’ve seen before and from a GPA standpoint we are doing better,” Peevy told her. “These questions are important. Let’s not let student support get to a point that it’s a problem.”

Before leaving, Peevy urged faculty members to take their support of athletics a step further and make efforts to attend DePaul athletic events, a subject of considerable focus for the department, as low attendance has plagued DePaul’s premier sports in recent years.  

Other Meeting Notes:

At Wednesday’s meeting, voting members in attendance approved a new minor in speech pathology.

The council spent a significant amount of time discussing current budget priorities. Since January 2020, DePaul faculty has not received a pay increase. Faculty discussed the impact of this pay freeze instituted by university administration to combat economic issues from the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual inflation rate as of August 2022 sits at 8.3%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the highest this figure has been in decades.

President Robert Manuel will present budgetary priorities and needs to DePaul’s board of trustees later this month.