Both the NCHC and the CCHC may cease to exist within the next 3 to 7 years.
There is an NCAA committee that has been at work for at least a year; and among the things that the committee is working on is compliance & enforcement. It is well known that the NCAA does a poor job of compliance & enforcement, as it does not have enough people to police all the various schools and sports.
The main proposal is to shove compliance down to the various conferences with minimum required standards, and for the conferences to require each member school to have compliance departments with minimum standards.
So, what does this have to do with the NCHC and the CCHC. It is anticipated that conferences that sponsor only 1 sport, will not have enough money & resources to survive; and that members of those conferences will need to play hockey in multi-sport conferences.
There is speculation that Josh Fenton left the NCHC to become the commissioner of the Summit League because of this likely change. Specifically, because 3 members of the NCHC (Denver, North Dakota, & Omaha) are full time members of the Summit League for all other sports.
Where does this leave Miami (also Western Michigan & Bowling Green)? Since Miami plays BCS football it would not join the Summit as a full time member, and probably not as an associate member although it might be possible. The most likely scenario is that the MAC will sponsor hockey with Miami, Western & BG as fulltime members and pick up at least 3 associate members from the remnants of the CCHC. I have been told that the MAC does or can have a compliance department that would meet the minimum standards. (although most of us have no love for Ohio U, their AD is on the committee that is working on this issue, and she is considered to be very competent and is representing the MAC very well).
The bad news is that this probably results in the Big Ten being the dominant hockey league as the Summit and the MAC would not be as strong, and Hockey East is also screwed as it is a 1 sport conference and has members that play other sports at various NCAA levels – this especially leaves Boston College out in left field.
I forgot to mention that the Summit does not sponsor football so North Dakota plays football in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Also, St. Thomas, where Rico is the current hockey coach, is a full-time member of the Summit for other sports.
In this scenario I would assume the default action would be for each hockey conference to choose a full sport conference to be under, and all other teams would join as associate members. Why are you just taking it for granted that Miami wouldn’t be an associate member of the Summit and instead would form a hockey league with WMU/BGSU?
As big as hockey is in the state of Michigan, why don’t EMU or CMU have teams?
Ferris State,N.Mich,Lake Superior State. Mich. has plenty of teams.
Michigan, Michigan State,W.Mich also of course.
And Norte Dame 8 miles across,the Michigan border in N.In.
EMU is a commuter school. It’s a bit like asking why Wright State doesn’t have hockey. As for Central, hockey just has never been big there. Maybe the student body was historically focused on basketball in the winter, but their club team is relatively new.
According to my brother-in-law, CMU students are more historically focused on drinking in the winter!
It would be possible for Miami (and Western) to be associate members of the Summit; but I was told that it was more likely that some of the western remnants of the CCHA would join the Summit, while some of the eastern remnants of the CCHA could become associate members of the MAC, and that the MAC office has the ability to add another sport.
Also, 3 schools in the NCHC (Duluth, St. Cloud, & Colorado College) and some of the CCHA play most of their other sports at much lower divisions; and have very weak or almost non existent Compliance Departments.
BG,Ferris,N.Mich,Lake Superior State, Mich Tech. Plus Miami,Plus Western Mich = 7 team MAC Hockey league possibly?
Hey MHT insiders,is that do-able? Really need an 8th member team.What’s that team going into D1 in the St.Louis area?
I may be out of date on this, but you used to need 6 teams to get an automatic NCAA bid for the league champ.
That (6) may be correct. For scheduling purposes an even number is advantageous.
I would guess that Michigan Tech would go west, as they were always in the old WCHA.
Correction: Michigan Tech was not always in the old WCHA.
How do you all think we would do in that hypothetical MAC hockey league?
I would venture we’d be more competitive but there are a couple of really good programs there.
It would be interesting.
Could help recruiting with increased Miami exposure in Michigan.
Some Good road trip potential for our fans,too.Bus pkg. to BG?
And league TV is in better time zone.
The difference between where we are now and the top of that league would be much smaller and I think could be made up quickly. We would have recruiting advantages over most of that group of teams.
These were David Sayler’s thoughts on the subject in August: Sayler: End of NCHC, CCHA possible – View From the Glass
It’s been five months to the day when we posted that, and I still don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen. It was interesting when we were in Buffalo talking to the Canisius people that they felt like they were in the same boat and had we were discussing a MAC/MAAC merger (the M-1.5A-C?) with the three western outliers – Niagara, Canisius and Mercyhurst joining Western, Miami, BUGS and maybe a couple of others, but the beer was flowing that night so it was probably just talk. If that happened I have this evidence of that theory in writing and will come back and gloat.
To no one’s surprise I favor the Summit approach. Being in a conference with the cash cow of college hockey in North Dakota is good for Miami in every way but travel.
I get the argument by people who say Miami could get more wins and become more relevant quicker by playing in a lesser conference, but I think the upside is very limited and I know for a fact some of the kids playing for Miami today came to Oxford for the NCHC. Schutte has admitted it’s a factor for some as well.
Let’s face it: Miami isn’t geographically desirable for hockey and has the smallest rink in its league. I remain happy that Miami was presented the opportunity to play in the best college league in the world and I’ll take a 19- or 20-win battle-tested team over one that wins 25 against the mid- and lower-level D-1 teams of the world if both get Miami a decent seed in the NCAAs.
And I think people treat going to a lower-level conference like temporary relegation. If Miami gets really good again the option to jump into a better league isn’t going to be there, which again comes down to geography and rink size.
In that scenario, what high-caliber teams will Miami ever draw to Oxford as a non-conference foe? Miami will go from a team with one of the toughest schedules in D-1 to one of the weakest. I’d put money on that.
The problem with Miami the past seven seasons has been talent, which comes down to recruiting, not the league. Improve the talent level and this team is a winner and a regular NCAA participant regardless of league.