Andy Baggott of the Wisconsin State Journal reported this morning via Twitter that Wisconsin officials confirmed the NCAA will not hear Wisconsin's appeal to the year-long suspension of Nic Kerdiles, and that there was no timetable set for when they will hear that appeal.
So if this story wasn't frustrating enough for college hockey fans, you get to bang your head against the desk another time. As stupid as this whole seems to being with, the NCAA dithering on a decision and leaving both Kerdiles and Wisconsin hanging in the wind for another week while the Badgers have two important non-conference games this weekend against Northern Michigan is particularly frustrating.
Kerdiles wasn't likely to play this week anyway, regardless of the NCAA's decision. He was excused from practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with what Mike Eaves called a "persistent headache;" something anyone who has followed this story can probably relate to. But if the NCAA is insistent on bullying Kerdiles out of college hockey to make some kind strange, extreme example of him, they should just take their pound of flesh and let Kerdiles move to the WHL.
Once again, SB Nation's Bucky's Fifth Quarter has done an excellent staying on top of the story involving Nic Kerdiles' one year suspension by the NCAA announced earlier today. You can follow their story stream on the incident here.
In their latest update, they've uncovered two photos that may form the basis for the NCAA's case against Kerdiles.
The first is a picture from Facebook showing Kerdiles at dinner with representatives from the Pulver Sports Agency, along with fellow Pulver clients Tyler Seguin and Alex Galchenyuk during last summer's NHL Combine. While certainly innocuous enough, the caption to the photo, posted by Alyonka Larionov describes it as a "Team Lunch," implying Kerdiles is officially part of that group. That said, while Alyonka Larionov is the daughter of Pulver Sports agent Igor Larionov, she's not herself an employee of Pulver Sports, so said promotion wouldn't necessarily be against NCAA rules. That said, the NCAA could require Kerdiles to prove that meal was not paid for by the agency, which would likely be difficult, though ultimately an incredibly minor thing.
I don't think the NCAA is correct in this instance, however. Keep in mind that I'm not a great legal mind, but I do at least know something about Twitter. The tweet in question is clearly directed as a reply towards @BioSteelSports. At least to me, there would seem to be a huge difference between Pulver Sports sending a message to BioSteel Sports--even if it could be seen by the general public--and Pulver Sports directing that tweet to the public at large. I don't think you can consider a conversation like that as promotion. Yes, this is the silliest discussion I've ever engaged in before.
As tweeted by both SB Nation's Andy Johnson, and veteran Wisconsin journalist Andy Baggot, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves announced today that Nic Kerdiles has been ruled ineligible for one season by the NCAA, and that Wisconsin will be appealing the suspension.
The one-year suspension is a pretty devastating one. Though Kerdiles is young enough to return to junior hockey, his suspension would have to be served in institution, meaning he'd have to be enrolled at Wisconsin. Essentially that means he'd have to go an entire year without playing hockey, outside of potentially participating with the US World Junior team.
For a highly drafted player that likely wasn't expecting to spend four years in college anyway, the idea of missing an entire year of development may be enough to push him toward the WHL, where his rights are held by the Kelowna Rockets. Kerdiles NHL rights are held by the Anaheim Ducks, and they likely won't be thrilled with one of their top young prospects going so long without game action as well. If Wisconsin's appeal is unsuccessful, it seems unlikely that Kerdiles ever suits for Wisconsin, and it would be difficult to blame him if he didn't.
The issue that caused Nic Kerdiles to be ruled ineligible for Wisconsin's first exhibition game, and potentially longer is starting to surface.
Andy Johnson, Wisconsin hockey writer for SB Nation's Wisconsin site Bucky's Fifth Quarter, is reporting that the incident the NCAA is currently looking into regarding Kerdiles involves his relationship with his advisors at Pulver Sports, and some alleged photos that appeared on Facebook after the NHL Draft of Kerdiles out at a dinner with other top NHL Draft prospects.
It's highly common practice for potential NHL prospects playing college hockey to have NHL agents represent them in an unofficial capacity as "advisors". The key to keeping that relationship kosher with the NCAA is making sure that relationship stays unofficial, with neither the agent nor the athlete receiving compensation for their services, and the agent not using that relationship for promotional purposes.
So I guess Kerdiles needs to produce some dinner receipts to satisfy the NCAA, which seems kind of silly in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, it appears that if Kerdiles misses any more than the exhibition game he already missed, it would be too heavy a punishment for the alleged crime.