The saga that was begun with the Marquette Royales first joining the Mid West Junior Hockey League, while at the same time attempting to gain entry into the Minnesota Junior Hockey League is still ongoing.
Over the summer, allegations of illegal player scholarships have been made. These allegations have been founded on player statements made in public, in private and dumb enough places like Facebook.
One confirmed scholarship scheme was uncovered in the form of getting business operators to pay a players team fee. When uncovered, and confronted the organization said they “didn’t know” it was illegal to do this, and now says that the money collected will be used to reduce every players fee for the season.
Another confirmed illegal scheme was the offering to return any players tuition to if the Royales were not able to move the player on to college. While this is technically not a violation if every player is offered the same opportunity, it becomes a violation when some players are not ready to go to college in the next season.
Head Coach Mike Stanaway admitted to both of these activities when asked about them last weekend. The rules are clear, every player at the Tier III level must be on equal financial footing. When they are not, it is a violation.
Unfortunately, rumors and allegations have followed Head Coach Mike Stanaway for the last few years when it comes to the scholarshiping issue.
Gaining a reputation as a strong recruiter in Tier III is not a hard thing to do if these kinds of offers are being made to players. It creates an unfair recruiting environment when other teams do not use the same tactics. It also creates a contentious work environment with your partners within the league when you are caught or even accused of these tactics. Stanaway has made no friends in the MNJHL this off season.
The Minnesota Junior Hockey League has been actively investigating this for well over a month. To their credit they have not been slow to take some type of action. The investigation will continue and certain stipulations are being drawn up into a document that if they are broken, will force Stanaway out of the league.
TJHN has learned that because of this situation and because the Royales have yet to turn in their “paperwork” to the league that the league is adding more stipulations to their membership. These stipulations are said to be serious and limited in the amount of time the team has to accept the stipulations. So serious, that if time frames are not met, the Royales could be voted out of the league.
Scholarshiping is cheating. Lets be clear. If the NCAA catches you as a player receiving a scholarship, you will loose eligibility. Many leagues also have rules against scholarshiping because its is a recruiting advantage and an NCAA violation. What kind of example is being set by a coach who openly cheats in this way? What kind of message are players and parents who accept these illegal scholarships sending to the player later on in life?
Is it alright to cheat if you dont get caught?
Are you prepared to pay the price when you do get caught as a player or a coach? The price you pay may be your livelyhood and/or your education. If a few thousand dollars is worth a lifetime of potential shame, loosing your job, not going to school as an athlete, then you need an education more than you think you know.