Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Family Advisors

(This started as an item for an upcoming Linkorama post, but ballooned to full-blown post length.)

Elliot Olshansky writes a great article on "family advisors". It's a sticky issue. The NCAA is looking into banning them, but it would be difficult, since they're unofficial associations. The advisor argument is the same as with verbal commitments. Most people agree that it is happening at too young of an age, but there's not much that can be done about it.

Are bad advisors part of the problem? They're a huge part of the problem. But I think, at it's core, this is a NCAA and CHL problem, that requires an NCAA and CHL solution. And who better to do that? The NCAA and CHL! The CHL and NCAA!

I understand that NCAA people don't like seeing kids with agents at such a young age, and don't like seeing them commit as 9th and 10th graders, but the fact is, kids in hockey are forced to make a huge decision at that age. Depending on where you stand, you can blame the CHL for drafting and courting kids at such a young age, or you can blame the NCAA's rigid stance on not letting CHL kids back into the NCAA after spending the tiniest bit of time with a CHL team.

My proposal has always been for the NCAA to allow kids to play major junior hockey and keep their eligibility until they graduate from high school, as long as they don't get any more compensation than a USHL or NAHL kid gets. That would allow a lot of coaches the chance to wait until a player is a junior or senior before really recruiting them, as opposed to having to recruit them as a freshman or sophomore in order to stay even with the CHL.

The other thing in this article that deserves mentioning in this article is Red Berenson's comments. The increased presence of family advisors certainly hasn't helped his program:
"I've seen kids make decisions on schools and where to play junior hockey based on their advisors," Berenson said. "I think advisors are in the mix way too much, and certainly, that's not the purpose of a family advisor, but certainly, that's what some of them might see their role as. I know for a fact that we've had kids break a commitment to our school to go to another school because of an advisor."
I have no clue who he could be talking about. Do you have ideas about who he might be talking about, Bryan Lerg?

But at the same time, Berenson is still against the NCAA's proposed legislation:
Berenson is similarly concerned about such legislation harming student athletes. "I don't think I'd be in favor of it," Berenson said, "because it's not like the kid is going professional. It's not like the advisor is signing him to a contract. In a lot of cases, families are just looking for advice, so they agree. I'd feel terrible if, because a family made a decision and was sold a bill of goods to be represented by an advisor - let's say at age 14 or 15 - and that costs you your college eligibility. I don't think that's fair either. I'd be against that ruling the way they're writing it right now."
It's always good to see a coach with his kids' best interests at heart.


NCAA parent said...

If a certain coach had kept his promise to a certain player he would have a leg to stand on.

The NCAA must lighten up. Due to the inherit structure of
amateur hockey, it cannot be administered like football. It is hypocritical to allow the USHL players to keep their eligibility, but not CHL players. They all are playing for $$. With out the advisors, the player/parent is at the mercy of the coaches in either league.

Anonymous said...

Lerg, is not the 1 he's talking about. I don't think Lerg has an advisor. His was Mich wanted him to play JR for a year. He didn't so he left and went to Mich St over Miami and BU.

Robbie Earl is who I think he's talking about. At the NTDP he committed to Mich then backout to go to Wisc.

Anonymous said...

The CHL is the better place to play if you want to move on in hockey!

Anonymous said...

Advisors are purely that.......but may lead you down a road that may cost a kid. Look at it as hiring and investment banker. Do your homework and find the best that suits you! BE very carefull......snakes multiply quickly.

Anonymous said...

The NCAA has brought this on themselves. By not allowing coaches to even RETURN calls or e-mails from prospects, the families are forced to get an advisor to act as the communications conduit to colleges. It's the major reason we went with an advisor.

Anonymous said...

Good points raised. I think another factor that leads to advisors is the fact that kids are getting frafted very early and in a way are like indentured servants when they go to the Q or the NCAA route. Why not push the draft back until a later age (say 20) like they did in the NBA? You will still have 20-21 year old freshman (whole different issue there), but this may take some pressure off of kids to hire an advisor etc. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Ok, you get a call from a Maj Jr team. They invite into the coach's office and tell you they're gonna draft you if you're interested. Hmm, you've got Midget Major to look "forward" to and no NCAA commitment yet. How can you say, No, I'm not interested? So next step, they set up a meeting with their GM to go over their offer. Do you go into that alone with your Mom and Dad? Or do you find an advisor and have him go with you or for you? If you go by yourself, do you just play it cool and not sign anything to protect your eligibility until you're sure which way to go (when you know you'll get ice time or you have a solid college commitment?)