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Just a brief update for you this morning on the Nic Kerdiles situation. If you're not already aware, the Wisconsin freshman was ruled ineligible for one season by the NCAA due to an amateurism violation. Wisconsin is currently appealing the decision.
As we previously reported, sources have confirmed that Kerdiles' relationship with advisors from Pulver Sports has been called into question.
In past updates, we've detailed two photos that have surfaced that may have put Kerdiles' eligibility in question. One is from a dinner at the NHL Scouting Combine with representatives from Pulver Sports.
The other situation includes a photo tweeted by Pulver Sports that shows Kerdiles and two other NHL prospects holding BioSteel supplements. That could be considered an NCAA violation of an athlete promoting a product.
Andy Baggot from the Wisconsin State Journal is running an article this morning that includes a piece of info that I felt was worthy of sharing.
In his article, Baggot speaks with UW deputy Athletic Director Sean Frazier who oversees both the men's and women's hockey programs at Wisconsin. Frazier is also the former chair of the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee.
Baggot notes that Frazier declined to go into details, but did mention that the ruling from the NCAA was "unprecedented."
As I've previously mentioned, the concerning issue here is that multiple people with NCAA compliance history have noted that the evidence presented with both photos does not come close to equaling the punishment levied by the NCAA.
What that says to me is that either the NCAA significantly overstepped its bounds -- and we can expect a significant retraction of the current punishment -- or there is a lot more to this that we're not currently aware of.
The word "unprecedented" leaves much open for interpretation. The first though that immediately popped into my head was that the NCAA is trying to make an example out of Kerdiles' situation.
Social media continues to evolve rapidly, and the NCAA is trying to keep up. Would the NCAA try to make an example out of a kid? Certainly wouldn't be the first time.
Hockey is one of the only sports where players actively deal with "family advisors." It was only a matter of time before the NCAA intervened.
The sad part is that from all accounts, Kerdiles' makeup as a person is off the charts. I've received multiple messages from people over the past few days gushing over this kids character.
In my personal past dealings with Kerdiles, he's been nothing but the utmost professional. He's never shied away from any interview or question that we've asked.
Louis Pacella, one of Kerdiles' former youth coaches from California was very vocal yesterday.
"Had privilege of coaching Nic Kerdiles for 7 years. Kid has utmost integrity and respect for rules. #NCAA is way off base. #Badgerhockey," Pacella tweeted.
Pacella went on to add, "from the time we visited Wisco when he was 16 all Nic talked about was being a Badger. Hope it works out for both sides ."
Unfortunately we don't know how long the appeals process will play out. Wisconsin opens up their season on Friday vs Northern Michigan.
Andrew Weiss from Future Considerations tweeted Monday that if a decision by the NCAA on Wisconsin's appeal isn't reached by Thursday, the freshman could give up his NCAA eligibility all together and leave for the Western Hockey League.
Personally it seems a bit ridiculous that anyone would set such a short deadline on this process. Regardless, if a decision isn't reached soon, expect to see Kerdiles in a Kelowna Rockets uniform in the near future.
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