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dogs2012
07-03-2019, 12:23 PM
The NCHC needs to get off their high horse and offer a conference home to one of the AK schools and maybe add ASU to even out their number if they so choose. (I still don't think ASU is the desirable add some folks seem to think they are. If they were such a hot commodity they would be in a conference now, rink or not.) The Secret Seven needs to be thankful they only have to travel once to AK in a season and accept ONE of the AK schools back into their new conference as well.

...why? Why would the NCHC ever take one of these teams with the lone exception being pitty? Neither AK schools nor UAH bring anything of value to the NCHC.

Spartanforlife4
07-03-2019, 12:33 PM
I mean, probably, yeah. I figure it will never happen because of that but I was wondering if there is some actual written rule that makes it impossible.

If there is a rule, itís that they need to be an AAU member. Every full member except Nebraska is in it, and they were in it until a couple months after they joined. Johns Hopkins is in it as well.

Notre Dame is not, but I believe theyíre on the cusp, they should be in the Big Ten anyway, and theyíre Notre Dame.

If ASU gets an invite, itíll be due to the Big Ten/Pac 12 relationship. But I think theyíre out of luck with Illinois nearing announcement because I canít see them wanting to go with a 9 team conference.

davyd83
07-03-2019, 12:39 PM
As a fan, Iím heartbroken for the fans in Alaska & Alabama that need these conference affiliations for their programís scheduling and survival. These relationships are part of the life blood of any program. For me, Iíve enjoyed these trips so much and theyíre part of the charm of college hockey.

As a person who worked in front offices and crunched numbers and travel budgets and travel arrangements in the minor pros and with sixteen years working in college hockey (not number crunching), and having a pretty good idea what goes into it, I know that this isnít a sustainable business model on either side of the equation, for the 7 or the 3. And for the athletes, the fatigue factor for all involved is a negative. I know how wiped out I am after those trips, and I havenít stepped on the rink, sprinted end to end or got crushed into the glass in the corner. As for Alabama-Huntsville, from Day 1 I was a big proponent of their inclusion in the league, given my hockey ties to the state. Iím of strong belief that they could be a very competitive program if they had a competitive recruiting budget, a commitment to fly everywhere except BG & Ferris (24 hour bus trips the day before a playoff opener donít set you up for success) would aid recruitment as well. Can you imagine other coaches competing with, ďWould you rather bus to Mankato or fly to Huntsville?Ē Iíve had similar conversations over the past six years with people around the UAH program. The final piece is they need a competitive facility. The VBC is one of the lowest rates facilities in the league. They have improved their space over the past few years, but the visitors space in most WCHA rinks is better than what the VBC offers the home team. It ranks below just about everyone but Anchorage in that regard. And UAH is the #2 tenant in that barn and is treated as such. And the VBC offers no support for visitors. (We were halfway to dinner after our Saturday game and notified we had to come back and clear out our room because of an upcoming event at VBC).

At the final CCHA Celebration, Ron Mason told me, ďThis is great for the Big Ten. Itís bad for college hockey.Ē He was 100% right.

Attendance has dropped big time and the conference tournaments in the west were destroyed. And those regional rivalries and David vs Goliath game were pushed from the forefront to the back burner.

On one hand, Iím not happy about it. We are rapidly losing what has made college hockey great. But on the other, I completely understand the decision.

I sincerely hope that these schools are able to find a path to move forward.

Patman
07-03-2019, 12:39 PM
How does the narrative that the NCHC hand picked all the good teams then packed up and left keep propagating? It's been pretty well established that after the B1G teams pulled out the small schools realized they had a numbers advantage and intended to use it to bring everybody else to their level and cut back spending. Of course the teams that are nationally competitive year in and year out are going to look for other options at that point. The break off is just as much the small schools' fault as anybody else's, they tried to take advantage of the new reality and it backfired on them. And in the end they kind of did get what they wanted, their conference with a small budget full of financially "like minded" schools, losing the teams they wanted to play with was the price they paid for it. And now many of those same schools are back here as the ringleaders yet again. The NCHC may have been a power grab by a number of schools, but it was born from a failed power grab before it.

So... the narrative is exactly what you said it was? It keeps propagating because its true... you just said as such

gfmorris
07-03-2019, 01:11 PM
Right, I think we are saying the same thing. The WCHA added the Alaskas and UAH not because they particularly wanted to be in a conference with those three schools, but because no one else wanted to be in a conference with them, either, and the WCHA was the last dance partner to fill out their dance card. There's just as much (technical) room in the NCHC or Big 10 to add schools. I think it's fair for the rest of the WCHA to say "If there's anyone out there this matters to, help out. If not, we've done what we can do."

So your presumption is that the concept is, "We've carried them this far but no further." I can accept that.

GFM

Squarebanks
07-03-2019, 01:16 PM
You said it yourself: the NCHC was born from a failed power grab before it. These same NCHC schools were growing bitter with having to split the Final Five golden goose egg every year with the likes of MTU, UAA. Add in BSU in 2009 for the 2011 season, and all the grumbling finally came to a head.

In hindsight, the NCHC schools had one foot out the door since the CHA exodus occurred in 2009, because they didn't want "more of *those* schools" taking their precious nest egg.


*The exception is Miami, who wasn't getting a dime from the CCHA because NONE of the schools saw a Super Six check. That money went to pay for the fan experience and league award banquet during the finals.

Probably true, but the oWCHA kicked the tires on UAF before ultimately going with UNO and Bemidji. It was serious enough that McLeod made a trip to Fairbanks to check things out. I donít doubt it was more of a ďif the others say no then you might be inĒ kind of thing, but there was some level of interest in those days.

Handyman
07-03-2019, 01:27 PM
The NCHC formed because UND and a few other schools realized what Wisconsin and Minnesota had been saying for a while...a bloated league that relied on a few schools to fund everything was not sustainable in the long run. The NCHC was a middle finger to smaller schools, but it was inevitable. They could have waited a couple years to let things settle but sooner or later they would need to make the move.

Blaming them or the Big Ten for the issue is foolish. The issue goes back farther.

As for the current craptastic realignment it sucks all the way around. :(

aparch
07-03-2019, 01:38 PM
Probably true, but the oWCHA kicked the tires on UAF before ultimately going with UNO and Bemidji. It was serious enough that McLeod made a trip to Fairbanks to check things out. I donít doubt it was more of a ďif the others say no then you might be inĒ kind of thing, but there was some level of interest in those days.
Oooohhhh... now that's a bit of trivia I was unaware of! Man, 2008-09 was a sketchy year for College Hockey.

AMC
07-03-2019, 01:47 PM
So your presumption is that the concept is, "We've carried them this far but no further." I can accept that.

GFM

Yeah, or maybe even "We've carried ALL of them this far but no further." It sucks, but the burden of dealing with the most resource and time intensive conference members fell on the western schools least well equipped to manage it. It probably could have been more elegantly handled, but if the goal was to shine a light on the inequities in college hockey in the west, well, the light is shone.

And, as a fan of an eastern team, this should be on the plates of the ECAC and Hockey East, too. We're blessed to have bus leagues. Putting a rotating burden on those memberships to have to travel to Alabama and Alaska every couple of years wouldn't be overly onerous. Not as a formal conference membership, but Hockey East could (for example) designate who was going to Anchorage, Fairbanks or Huntsville during the (otherwise) heart of the conference schedule and help them out with some friendly scheduling on the next weekend (be it a bye, a one game weekend, or even a home series).

If someone forced EVERYONE to work together, this doesn't have to be a death knell. Arizona State showed last year that with a decent schedule it is still possible to make the NCAAs from outside the conference structure. Home and homes among the four independents gets each team 12 games (6 H/ 6 A). That would leave UAH, UAA, UAF to schedule another 20 or so each. That's 10 2 game series times three schools, for 30 series. Divide that by the six conferences (AHA, HEA, ECAC, WCHA, NCHC, Big 10), and each conference would need to get its membership to play 5 two game sets, TOTAL, each year. And they can be evenly split, home and road. If you are a ten team conference, School A might have to host UAH in year one and go to Fairbanks in year four. And that's it. That's the commitment. That's not a huge ask.

SteveO
07-03-2019, 01:50 PM
It was alluded to earlier in the thread but none of these schools are apparently eligible for B1G membership. What requirement do they not meet? Johns Hopkins is a B1G lacrosse member so I am not sure what would be stopping the B1G from taking on one of these programs to get to 8 members. We already have Notre Dame.

Eligibility for the B1G is largely based upon financial endowments and strong academic reputations. Big Ten member institutions feature enrollments of 30,000 or more students and are predominantly major flagship research universities. There is literally no interest from the B1G in pursuing a criteria of balancing the league with an even number of teams.

B1G affiliate John Hopkins annually receives close to $2 billion in federally funded research grants, which is about twice as much as any other institution of higher learning in the US. The addition of Notre Dame to B1G hockey strengthened the league both internally and from a national perspective. It renewed some historic rivalries in the sport (From 1971-81 in the WCHA, Notre Dame competed against fellow league members Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin) and is comparable to the institutional profile of other B1G schools from both an athletic and academic standpoint. UAF, UAH, and UAA do not meet these requirements. The current focus is on expected addition of Illinois to the B1G in the near future (2021-22).

Having a seven team league is clearly not a major scheduling problem. The 2019-20 B1G season features 24 conference games.

I'd be very surprised if the new WCHA added UAH later after excluding them as charter members of the new conference. It's not going to happen. The only logical choice, other than retreating back to Independent status, would be the AHA (with the proximity of Robert Morris and Niagara) but it's doubtful the league is even interested in expanding, especially considering the geography and travel costs involved for member schools. It would also be a change from the WCHA as they will have to conform to the cost-containment model of 12 athletic scholarships instead of 18.

For the Alaska remnant, given the budget cuts in state funding, the downsizing of the UAA facility and an inevitable drop in competitive recruiting, it's doubtful UAA and UAF will receive an invite to any conference. But with the NHL expanding into the Las Vegas and Seattle markets, it's entirely possible an NCAA D1 west coast conference will emerge in the near future maybe out of the PAC-8 (currently under the ACHA) with teams like Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, ASU etc. That makes more fiscal sense for the Alaska teams.

4four4
07-03-2019, 02:45 PM
If there is a rule, itís that they need to be an AAU member. Every full member except Nebraska is in it, and they were in it until a couple months after they joined. Johns Hopkins is in it as well.

Notre Dame is not, but I believe theyíre on the cusp, they should be in the Big Ten anyway, and theyíre Notre Dame.

If ASU gets an invite, itíll be due to the Big Ten/Pac 12 relationship. But I think theyíre out of luck with Illinois nearing announcement because I canít see them wanting to go with a 9 team conference.

If you are a AAU member don't you have to be a researching university?

4four4
07-03-2019, 02:47 PM
https://www.collegiateconsulting.com/news/collegiate-consulting-completes-five-nhl-funded-hockey-feasibility-studies



They also exist as a funnel to move NHL money to Collegiate Consulting, apparently.

Great, more roster spots for Minnesotans to play at.

BGFan
07-03-2019, 02:49 PM
I'd be very surprised if the new WCHA added UAH later after excluding them as charter members of the new conference. It's not going to happen. The only logical choice, other than retreating back to Independent status, would be the AHA (with the proximity of Robert Morris and Niagara) but it's doubtful the league is even interested in expanding, especially considering the geography and travel costs involved for member schools. It would also be a change from the WCHA as they will have to conform to the cost-containment model of 12 athletic scholarships instead of 18.

The exception of that would be if the new league extended an offer to Niagara or RMU, opening up a spot for UAH if accepted.

4four4
07-03-2019, 02:52 PM
Thank you SJHovey; as a CCHA fan, I didn't have my ear to the ground on the WCHA's problems. I knew it had come out later there were issues, but I didnt recall all of the behind the scenes problems. The CCHA was in a similar boat by losing their two "big" schools (tOSU was never treated like MI/MSU). Hell, our commissioner bailed two days after the B1G conference was announced.

Obviously it was more tilted to the small schools in the CCHA, because with UNO, MI, MSU, and tOSU leaving, you were left with Notre Dame, Miami, WMU, a very large financial gap FSU/NMU/UAF, BGSU, then LSSU.

I would also add if Michigan and Michigan State didn't leave the WCHA for the CCHA we probably wouldn't have a CCHA anymore. The split up back then saved the CCHA from going away.

ScottK
07-03-2019, 02:59 PM
It would also be a change from the WCHA as they will have to conform to the cost-containment model of 12 athletic scholarships instead of 18.


Atlantic Hockey has allowed its members the full 18 scholarships for 3 years now. https://www.uscho.com/2016/09/07/atlantic-hockey-now-offering-ncaa-max-of-18-scholarships/

FMR_Alaskan
07-03-2019, 03:07 PM
For the Alaska remnant, given the budget cuts in state funding, the downsizing of the UAA facility and an inevitable drop in competitive recruiting, it's doubtful UAA and UAF will receive an invite to any conference. But with the NHL expanding into the Las Vegas and Seattle markets, it's entirely possible an NCAA D1 west coast conference will emerge in the near future maybe out of the PAC-8 (currently under the ACHA) with teams like Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, ASU etc. That makes more fiscal sense for the Alaska teams.

That is some pie in the sky thinking. What makes you think these Western schools are going to be ready to go from no program to D1 within 2 years? And even if they were, itís same argument the NChC has against letting one the Alaskaís in. What value could they possibly bring to the table in 2020-21? No, the Alaska programs are done the day the Shady Seven leave. No pause button, no alternative conference, just el fin.

aparch
07-03-2019, 03:22 PM
I would also add if Michigan and Michigan State didn't leave the WCHA for the CCHA we probably wouldn't have a CCHA anymore. The split up back then saved the CCHA from going away.

It really did.

And around that same time, Hockey East broke off from ECAC's juggernaut they were running and had an interlocking schedule with the WCHA. There hasnt been anything like it since.

bravohankins
07-03-2019, 03:35 PM
I would also add if Michigan and Michigan State didn't leave the WCHA for the CCHA we probably wouldn't have a CCHA anymore. The split up back then saved the CCHA from going away.

Wrong....the CCHA had just had BG finish 3rd in FF in 1978, including beating Wisconsin, BG was ranked #1 for a lot of the 78-79 season, BG had 2 guys make the 80 Olympic team and lost to eventual NCAA Champion Minnesota in the NCAA's. NMU made the NCAA Final against UND a year later in 80(Steve Weeks was a heck of a goalie). The league was doing very well.

The CCHA was not going anywhere and the minute Ron Mason left BG in 79-80 he already had plans on getting the Spartans to the CCHA. He started the CCHA along with Jim Ruehl and MSU was going to the CCHA no matter what Michigan did. It was never in doubt or in risk of folding.

Hockey John
07-03-2019, 03:35 PM
That is some pie in the sky thinking. What makes you think these Western schools are going to be ready to go from no program to D1 within 2 years? And even if they were, it’s same argument the NChC has against letting one the Alaska’s in. What value could they possibly bring to the table in 2020-21? No, the Alaska programs are done the day the Shady Seven leave. No pause button, no alternative conference, just el fin.

Unfortunately, the Alaskan schools were done in because of the economic problems in Alaska not by the seven teams. It is not feasible to play in a 750 seat arena. I hope differently, but I am not sure the Alaskan schools last the final two seasons of the WCHA. The University of Alaska system can not keep taking these major financial hits year after year without athletics getting hammered.

bravohankins
07-03-2019, 03:45 PM
Interesting view from BGDrew on his site:

https://twitter.com/BGSUHockeySite

The "Death from a Thousand Cuts" line is very apropos. The WCHA has basically been dying since the original teams bolted for the B1G and NCHC....the hodgepodge of members that remained were never connected to each other in any meaningful ways. The WCHA moniker will most likely cease to exist in a few years, but it's been building for over a decade.