Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amateurish

You should probably get up to speed on the Nic Kerdiles situation in Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team could lose high-profile freshman winger Nic Kerdiles to what one school official said was an extraordinary case involving NCAA amateurism rules. 
UW coach Mike Eaves announced Monday that the school is appealing a NCAA decision to make Kerdiles ineligible for the upcoming season. 
If that decision were to stand, it’s doubtful that Kerdiles, a second-round NHL draft pick of Anaheim, would remain in school and return to the Badgers in 2013-14. It’s likely the Ducks would want him to continue his development somewhere else this season, which could mean a move to the Major Junior circuit in Canada. 
... 
Multiple sources in the NHL and college hockey indicate the NCAA acted on photos and postings made public via social media that involve an agent and took place leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in June. 
... 
It’s commonplace for hockey prospects like Kerdiles to have family advisers — almost all are certified as professional sports agents — as long as the adviser abides by NCAA rules that prohibit marketing the player, negotiating with professional teams on the player’s behalf or providing extra benefits like clothes, meals or merchandise of value. 
It’s not clear what specific issues led the NCAA to rule against Kerdiles, an 18-year-old from Irvine, Calif., but the Bucky’s 5th Quarter website culled a photo from an agent’s Twitter account that showed Kerdiles and two of the agent’s clients holding glasses that advertised a specific energy drink. 
The photo could be construed as Kerdiles being marketed by the representative as well as being used to promote a specific product. 
The agent who posted the energy drink photo, Toronto-based Ian Pulver of Pulver Sports, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Monday. Pulver was also shown in the photo with Kerdiles and others at dinner.
Well, if that just isn't a kick in the pants. As if the NCAA didn't already have enough problems keeping talented young players in school, now something like this comes along to either scare the amateurism back into everyone or drive NHL-minded prospects to major junior.

Like the article says, it's not uncommon for NHL prospects to have "family advisers" while playing in the NCAA - agents in all but name and pay. These "advisers" latch onto prospects in the hopes of cashing in down the road when they negotiate that big contract, a necessary evil when it comes to landing high caliber players for any program, from Wisconsin to RPI.

This "infraction" seems pretty thin. He was caught in a picture with his "adviser" holding a product? Good God, someone call the ambulance, I think I may have fainted.

The NCAA is notorious for being overzealous in its defense of the high and moral position of amateur sports, but college athletics has long been a development area for professional leagues, most notably in football, basketball, and baseball, but in the last 20 years hockey has certainly joined that realm. The major difference with the other three sports is that there isn't really much of a viable alternative to college (unless players are coming right out of high school). That isn't the case with hockey, as a player who can't play in college really won't think twice about heading north of the border to major junior.

This is a simmering problem, and this incident only threatens to make things worse... and for what? A picture on Twitter? Jeez.

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