The Mustangs won the Class 3A state basketball championship March 18, but school administrators said there was no money to buy rings for the roughly 30 players, managers and coaches.
Athletic Director Michael Berger took to Twitter March 28, broadcasting the predicament of the school at 1744 W. Prior Ave. He said in the past Chicago Public Schools helped pay for the rings as well as the championship banners that hang in the gym.
“However, in the severe budget crisis times we are living in, no financial help is available from these sources this year,” Berger wrote.
On Tuesday afternoon, Berger sent out a Tweet thanking the Chicago-born Buress, Bennett’s Uncle Smarty Foundation and Fenwick High School — which Morgan Park defeated (69-67) in overtime to take the state title — for their donations.
“I am writing this letter to say that I have been blown away by the response by people that read my letter asking for donations and have emailed and called telling me their stories of how the team inspired them, or they went to Morgan Park, or it made them feel good to help kids who were doing the right things,” Berger wrote.
Berger was attempting to raise $11,000 for the rings and banner. He previously said most of the team’s dedicated money was used to travel to the championship game in Peoria as well as other away games.
The Mustangs also won basketball titles in 2013 and 2014. In those years, CPS and Morgan Park High School had some discretionary money to buy the rings. But a series of budget cuts have erased such funds at both the school and district level.
He said any additional money raised for the rings would be used to support the team next year. He also encouraged those still interested in making a donation to do so, as all athletic programs are in dire need.
“Unfortunately, the funding crisis that affects our school, our district, our city and our state is probably not going away anytime soon,” he said.