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Organizers behind teacher ‘Dash for Cash’ game ‘deeply regret’ promotion

The South Dakota minor league hockey team that put on the game said it understood how many perceived it as "degrading and insulting."
Local teachers scramble for dollar bills to fund projects for their classrooms on Dec. 11 at a Sioux Falls Stampede game.
Local teachers scramble for dollar bills to fund projects for their classrooms on Dec. 11 at a Sioux Falls Stampede game.Erin Woodiel / Argus Leader
/ Source: TODAY

After public outcry over a promotion at a South Dakota hockey game that had teachers scrambling around on the ground for cash, the organizers have issued an apology. 

The event, which happened at a minor league hockey game between periods on Dec. 11 in Sioux Falls, had 10 teachers in helmets scramble to grab as many dollar bills as they could off the ground in five minutes. There was $5,000 worth of singles, the team and company who put up the cash said, and the idea was to help teachers fund their classrooms.

After the competition drew criticism for being “dystopian” and “degrading,” online, the Sioux Falls Stampede issued a statement on Tuesday with an apology.

“Although our intent was to provide a positive and fun experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole,” the statement reads. “We deeply regret and apologize to all teachers for any embarrassment this may have caused.”

The statement said there were 31 teachers who applied to take part, and 10 were randomly selected to participate.

The team statement said that together with CU Mortgage Direct, the company that the hockey club partnered with for the original event, they are donating an additional $500 to each teacher who took part in the event and giving the same amount to the additional 21 applicants who weren’t able to participate. 

“Moving forward, the Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct will continue to support our teachers and will work with the SD Teachers Association on future events that will provide funding for our next generation,” the statement concludes. “CU Mortgage Direct and the Stampede will have no further comment at this time.”

The National Education Association reported that in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, teachers in South Dakota were the second-lowest paid in the country behind Mississippi. Teachers in the state earned an average of about $49,000, compared to an average of $66,000 nationwide.