Sunday, April 27, 2008

WCHA Still A Gentleman's League

The WCHA held their league meeting last week prior to the National Coaches convention in Florida. One of the big issues discussed was the league's gentleman's agreement of not recruiting players that have already made verbal commitments to other schools.

The agreement survived, but just barely, with four schools opposing it. I'm not sure who the four schools were, but Minnesota has been one of the most vocal in opposition to it.

Personally, I don't think it's a bad idea to have that agreement in place. I'm definitely not of the opinion that a verbal commitment should be super-binding. I have no problem is a kid decides he wants to go somewhere else, but I think he should come to that decision on his own.

One of the more anticipated events at the national coaches convention was a meeting with Paul Kelly and Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner and NHLPA executive director respectively, to discuss NCAA players leaving for the NHL.

But it sounds like any major changes in the relationship between the NCAA and NHL are still a few years down the road. The talks with Kelly and Daly were pretty informal, and it's unlikely any changes will come out of it, but it was a start to dealing with some of the issues brought up by so many players leaving early.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

i agree with you on the G-league stuff. i find it ironic that lucia is against that, but he is also against the nhl recruiting his players...i like lucia, but i strongly believe that G league rules should be in place. it sets hockey apart from other sports.

Anonymous said...

Schools that do not offer athletic scholarships and are strictly need based financial aid can create a problem for the verbally committed player. A player may commit long before the financial aid office determines, in their mind, what aid a family should receive. If that aid is insufficient for a families financial situation then a player may be forced to de-commit. Getting the word out that the player is looking for a new place to play is a difficult situation. If all coaches could speak to verbally committed players all along then that process would be much easier.

Why shouldn't a prospective student be given every opportunity to go to the college of their choice or one that is better suited for them academically if that offer were to come after an initial verbal commitment? Many young men commit early as they may feel it is the only offer they may get. A bird in the hand, if you will. There certainly will be instances of top players getting 'stolen' by other top programs but of all the D1 schools most of the players are not in that situation. What is best for the student-athlete should come first not what is in the schools best interest.

Kevin said...

What if they just agreed upon a certain restricted level of recruiting for players who have verbally committed? I don't know what frequency of contact is standard for uncommitted players, but I don't think it would be too bad if you allowed one unsolicited contact every 6 or 12 months. Just enough for a coach to let a player know his team has interest, and maybe make a brief pitch. Maybe that's too idealistic, but I just think a player should have the right to know if other schools he may prefer more develop interest in him.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Maybe 15 year old children should quit committing places.

Anonymous said...

"I have no problem is a kid decides he wants to go somewhere else, but I think he should come to that decision on his own."

Whether the agreement is in place or not, the player is going to still be the one who decides if he wants to change or not. However, if there wasn't a gentleman's agreement, a kid would be better informed of all his options should he decide he wants to change his mind. I see that as a good thing. It doesn't mean he has to change his mind. It just means he has more information should he decided to make a change.

It has become rather common for kids to commit to a school before the lines of communication open up and all schools can actively talk to these kids without having to do it through any intermediaries. Given that fact, it would seem to me that it may actually be beneficial for kids to be in an environment where the gentleman's agreement doesn't exist because it could make early commits aware of other opportunities they didn't know about once schools can actively call them without restriction.

It has always seemed to me that the gentleman's agreement was really only about certain coaches wanting to cover their butt from losing recruits should something better possibly come along for the player. Its almost like they want to keep kids in the dark to other opportunities that might be out there. I guess my feeling is if a coach is trulye confident in what he has to offer for a hockey program, why be afraid of opening things up and getting rid of such an agreement?

Wade said...

"Schools that do not offer athletic scholarships and are strictly need based financial aid can create a problem for the verbally committed player. A player may commit long before the financial aid office determines, in their mind, what aid a family should receive. If that aid is insufficient for a families financial situation then a player may be forced to de-commit."

Which applies to the WCHA teams how? Of course this would be an issue in the ECAC, where there is a mixture of non-scholarship (the Ivies and Union) and scholarship-granting (all others) institutions. But the post is simply referring to an agreement between the WCHA programs not to poach each others' commits, which is entirely reasonable.

JamJam said...

I like the "agreement". Wisconsin doesn't have recruits sign LOI's until the spring due to a Big Ten rule that says a school must disclose scholie info upon LOI signing (which non-Big 10 WCHA schools don't have to do). Because of this, Wisconsin's recruits are verballed for a longer period of time and thus would be more at risk of being poached if not for this agreement. I'm surprised Lucia doesn't support this.

Anonymous said...

One of the first things you hear these kids say once they commit is, "I'm glad I got it out of the way so I can now focus on my high school season." Keeping this rules takes a lot of pressure off of the kids. Let's not lose focus on the fact that they're kids....It's a rule that benefits them.

blah blah blah said...

Any word on the officiating situation in the WCHA? Or is McLeod and Shepherd going to use the gentlmen's agreement and the NHL crap to defer that stuff?

Previous years saw Greggiepoo saying that there is no problem with WCHA officiating because the coaches don't complain or express dissatisfaction at these offseason meetings. Well...

1. I'm sure the coaches are going to stop what they're doing towards the top tier issues (like poaching players either by other NCAA DI institutions or by the NHL) to draft up a complaint on officials, something they are not allowed to voice during the season without looking like a whiny bitch...

2. Greggiepoo believes that, unless people are complaining all year long and all post season long ("people" meaning ADs, Coaches, and NCAA officials), there is no need to try to improve anything.

Greg Shepherd, the complacent incompetent.

dagies said...

"certain coaches wanting to cover their butt from losing recruits should something better possibly come along for the player."

That's a pretty good situation for Lucia. He can let Mankato, Tech and Duluth hold recruits for him until he decides if they're "up to snuff", then he can recruit them. That's a cake eater mentality if I ever read one.

Sure, the kid doesn't have to change his mind, but encouraging kids to take offers just to ensure they have one, and then wait out the offer from the prestigious school is a great way to treat the lesser known programs.

I'm sure that Lucia would feel it's fair if college hockey doesn't pursue any talks with the NHL on players leaving early. I mean, that only helps the little schools who don't often get those recruits.

O wait, he doesn't like that either.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a bad idea to get rid of this aggreement. To get rid of the aggreement would be bad for college hockey as a whole. It would give the rich a chance to get richer and the poor would get poorer. We already have enough of this in society. This aggreement is good for the little guys in college hockey and keeps the game better in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see this trend of kids choosing to commit to a school at 15, end.

This is not going to happen, so I would prefer that coaches be allowed to make their case to prospective recruits. Circumstances change rapidly, why shouldn't recruiting be allowed to reflect this.

Anonymous said...

Apparently dagies thinks college hockey is supposed to be a charity event. We have to make sure that nobody feels hurt. Next thing you know, he'll be asking for every school to have a uniform arena so no school has an advantage there either. Time for Minnesota to get rid of Mariucci Arena, UND to get rid of the REA, and any other big program must shrink their arena down to the size of Michigan Tech. Then all will be right in the world because things will be on equal ground. God forbid that some schools actually have more to sell to a recruit than other schools and be able to give those kids a chance to go there no matter when the time may be. Yeah, that kind of thinking makes sense in the world of competitive college sports.

Obviously Don Lucia isn't the only coach in the WCHA to want the agreement to be gone. That is evidenced by the vote since it was almost 50/50. It would appear the idea of getting rid of the agreement is gaining momentum considering Lucia seemed to be the one guy willing to get rid of it a few years ago. Now some other coaches are jumping on board too. It may even be possible that a couple of the schools that dagies mentioned as being potential victims actually voted to get rid of that agreement.

It doesn't say in a head coach's job description that he has to kowtow to other schools on recruits because it isn't "fair".

dagies said...

From what I understand the vote wasn't 50-50. And it was "haves" that voted against the gentleman's agreement. Funny how that works.

I'm not the one who started this gentleman's agreement in college hockey. Somewhere in the past they apparently thought it was a good idea.

If the coaches decide they want to do away with it that's fine with me, but it shouldn't be just because a few of the schools who stand to benefit the most from it are the ones who support it.

SJHovey said...

I wouldn't be too tough on Lucia. Glen and Louie are getting up there in age and don't get around the country quite as fast as they used to. Don is just trying to buy them a little more time.