Twelve days after news broke that Wisconsin freshman Nic Kerdiles was dealing with an NCAA eligibility issue, the University of Wisconsin was able to present its case to the appeals board.
Kerdiles' suspension -- one full season with no hockey at the NCAA level -- is considered by most experts to be beyond excessive.
Five members of the NCAA reinstatement committee listened to UW's appeal on behalf of the blue-chip winger on Thursday. The appeal started at 1:30 p.m. CT, and stretched into the late afternoon. No decision will be made on Thursday, and it's not clear at this point if a final decision will be made on Friday, either.
Chris Peters from the United States of Hockey blog broke the news earlier Thursday of the transgression in question. While the NCAA's probe into Kerdiles started with pictures on social media, its concern revolved around hotel rooms at the NHL Draft.
According to Peter's report:
"Apparently, Kerdiles stayed in a hotel room the night of the NHL Entry Draft that was part of a block paid for by a credit card owned by family advisor and certified NHL player agent Ian Pulver. According to the source, though the Kerdiles family eventually repaid Pulver, apparently enough time had lapsed prior to repayment leading the NCAA to view this as a loan from an agent and therefore an improper benefit."
I'm told that while Pulver did at first pay for the hotels, there are extenuating circumstances that led to that. I'm also told that the Kerdiles family paid for the hotels immediately after the fact.
People with knowledge of Thursday's proceedings have indicated that Wisconsin feels confident in the case it presented to the reinstatement committee. I think at minimum, Kerdiles' suspension will be reduced.
How far will Kerdiles' suspension have to be reduced for him to stay at Wisconsin? Fairly significantly, from what I've been told.
Kerdiles, who was a second-round NHL Draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, already sat out two games last weekend that should count if his suspension is reduced. That said, if Kerdiles' suspension lasts any longer than six total games, it would be hard to see him sticking around in Madison.
We'll have more updates as information becomes available.
Just a brief update for you tonight on the Nic Kerdiles situation. Wisconsin's appeal of the one-year suspension handed out by the NCAA was supposed to be heard today (Thursday). However, that appeal has been pushed back one week from today to October 18th.
Obviously everyone in the Wisconsin camp is frustrated by the appeal being pushed back one week, as the Badgers open up their season this weekend with a two-game series vs Northern Michigan. Kerdiles will not be eligible to play until the appeal is heard.
In an update from the Wisconsin State Journal today, Andy Baggot notes that Wisconsin officials will make their appeal to the five-member NCAA reinstatement committee via teleconference. According to the report, the committee will then deliberate and vote, with the majority deciding the outcome.
I was told today that Kerdiles has taken the news very hard as expected, and Baggot notes that Kerdiles sat out practice Thursday for the third day in the row with persistent headaches.
After this weekend the Badgers don't play again until October 26th at Minnesota-Duluth. A decision on the appeal will be reached well in advance of that series. Eaves confirmed today that Kerdiles plans to stay at Wisconsin until a decision is reached.
Public outcry in support of Kerdiles has been overwhelming this week. Even reporters who cover Major Junior hockey in Canada have come out publicly in their support of the Wisconsin freshman.
From every available piece of evidence out there publicly, and off the record, Kerdiles' punishment seems so over the top it makes me sick. Let's hope the five members who will be hearing this appeal understand that they are dealing with peoples lives.