Has USA Hockey
inspired the National Collegiate Athletic Association into keeping players from
the Canadian Hockey League ineligible for NCAA competition?
NCAA rules in regards
to hockey oppose those that protect minors. While the law generally protects
minors from himself, his immaturity, and against other people, the NCAA holds
minors accountable for decisions they make as early teens. The amateur
standards for hockey are the opposite with the standards of law.
Is Major Junior Professional Hockey?
The answer is no. The
leagues deny that they are professional hockey and present themselves as
amateurs. Players receive a modest monthly stipend for spending money that they
would otherwise collect from part-time jobs. The standard is $35 a week for
sixteen and seventeen year-olds, $50 for eighteen year-olds, $60 for nineteen
year-olds, and as much as $150 for twenty year-olds.
The only noticeable
difference between what the Canadian Hockey League and the United States Hockey
League is the stipend. That and National Hockey League signed players are still participating in the league. USHL players are permitted to use part-time jobs
during the season to earn spending money. One would think that situation would
fall under as much scrutiny as the team supplied stipend. Did the USHL player
obtain the job opportunity because he plays for the local team or was it
obtained because of an particular skill set for doing the job?
In reality, the major
junior leagues are giving young players more time to concentrate on academics
while the USHL is adding the extra pressure of a part-time job to the equation. I can't help but think
that the USHL system is subject to more abuse than that of the CHL. Having
players work jobs in the same community as they are playing in could certainly
become a problem.
between major junior and minor professional hockey end after length of the
season and games played. Major junior players have minimal responsibilities, no
expenses and are dependent on the team and billet family. In contrast, most professional players live alone, with a teammate, or with their own family.
They are responsible for their own bills, do their own shopping and cooking.
Players at the professional level are able to earn enough money to provide for
themselves and others. Many major junior players are still in school while
professionals play hockey as a full-time job.
Why does the NCAA Determine Amateurism on a Sport by Sport Basis?
NCAA regulations allow
an individual to play professionally in one sport and to maintain eligibility
in another. Many minor professional baseball players have gone on to play
college football. It certainly does not make sense to allow an adult athlete to
collect millions of dollars from baseball to play football as an amateur while
preventing minors who have collected slightly more than fast-food money from
playing their sport at the college level. The NCAA is telling that minor age
player, "you made a choice now live with it," while allowing a
twenty-eight year old to win the Heisman Trophy (Chris Heinke) after six
years of playing professional baseball.
Who's to Blame?
It's the entire
system. From the National Hockey League to the NCAA. The NHL likes to sign
players and return them to the major junior team. The NCAA equates this to
feces in the punch bowl, and that the entire league is tainted. That's for
hockey. At the same time, college players can play in pro-am golf and tennis
tournaments, Division I soccer players compete against professional players and
teams with club programs every summer. Why is it so much different for hockey?
Let's face it; USA
Hockey is heavily influencing the NCAA's position. The issue is more about
protecting the USHL than it is about punishing kids for getting hamburger
money. If CHL players were eligible for NCAA Division I hockey there would be a
lot fewer opportunities for American players.
It would make much
more sense to lock both schools and players into four-year agreements. If a
player agrees to play for a school and wants to withdraw after two-years, he
should be financially responsible for all expenses leading up until his
departure. At the same time, the school needs to be responsible for all
educational expenses for that same duration, regardless if the player makes the
team or not. This should apply to all NCAA sports.
That's just my opinion, what is yours?
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