Good Afternoon Wilderness... Fall is here and that means NCAA Hockey is here as well. Yay! Good times have come our way. As I write this, I am awaiting patiently, high above the ice at the Ralph Englestad Arena, for the start of the University of North Dakota and University of Vermont game.
This past week, Brad Elliot Schlossman, college hockey beat writer, wrote an article in the Grand Forks Herald about the various issues that were plaguing NCAA hockey. In this article, there was an issue that caught my eye. There's a coach in the State of Hockey that's interested in revisiting the gentleman's agreement. Now to be fair, I would bet even money, that there are other college hockey coaches that think the same way as well. Basically, Minnesota Gophers head coach Donny Lucia is open to the idea of being able to recruit kids that are already committed to other division one hockey programs. Here's what he had to say.
Brad Elliot Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald -- Currently, college hockey is unique and will not recruit a player who has verbally committed, even though it's perfectly fine under NCAA rules. The NCAA allows a team to recruit a prospect until he signs a letter of intent his senior year of high school.
"I respect both sides. I'm torn," Lucia said on the gentleman's agreement not to recruit verbally committed players. "Especially with a younger kid. I find it frustrating that we want to recruit a kid, but we haven't had a chance to get him to campus. Suddenly, someone puts a gun to his head to make a decision, which happens. I don't think that's fair either.
"Or else, maybe a kid wants to come here, but we're full, so he commits somewhere else. All of the sudden, we have a couple of kids sign (pro deals) and spots open up. Why shouldn't I be able to give that kid a scholarship that we didn't have a month earlier?"
Personally, I don't like this idea. Not at all. This is one place that I don't want college hockey to go. Sure, this happens in Division I football and basketball, but college hockey is different, at least for now. It's bad enough that college hockey teams have to worry about Major Junior teams recruiting their players. Could you imagine if college hockey coaches had to worry about other schools in division I hockey as well? I am not sure that Lucia wants other teams openly recruiting players that have committed to his team as well. It could happen. Especially, if he decides that he doesn't want to honor the gentleman's agreement anymore. How's he going to feel if other teams in division I hockey start stealing some of his recruits? I don't think that he wants to go there. Thoughts?