Major Junior Players Path To NCAA Eligibility

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Major Junior Players Path To NCAA Eligibility December 10, 2012 7:57 AM

An Email obtained by TJHN to the CHLPA spells out a path that the Canadian Hockey League could potentially take to allow for its players to retain their NCAA eligibility.

Mr. XXXXXXXXX, Per our phone conversations, our legislation indicates that a professional team is one that pays players beyond actual and necessary expenses or considers itself professional (NCAA Division I Bylaw 12.02.5). Per our discussion, it is my understanding the league pays its players a stipend that is beyond actual and necessary expenses; therefore, the players are considered professional. Our legislation in Bylaw 12.2.3.2.4 notes that ice hockey teams in the US and Canada classified by the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) as major junior teams are considered professional under the legislation. As a result, even with the elimination of the stipend, these players would not have eligibility because of the classification of their hockey teams. If the stipend were to be eliminated and the association were to not classify the team as major junior, then they would not be considered professional per our legislation; however, you would need to consult with the CHA regarding the process of changing the classification. If there are any other questions, please let me know. Thank you, Natasha Oakes | Assistant Director of Academic and Membership Affairs National Collegiate Athletic Association | P.O. Box 6222 | Indianapolis, IN | 46206-6222 (P) 317-917-6222 | (F) 317-917-6991 | noakes@ncaa.org

The CHLPA has stated that the primary goal of its organization is to better the education packages of Major Junior Players.

It would appear that this email from Ms. Oakes spells out a way for the Canadian Hockey League to design a path that may lead to its players one day being able to play NCAA hockey.

The question now is, why would the CHL not undertake this course of action?

Does the phrase "Major Junior" mean more to the operations of the three leagues involved? Or does the ability to increase the education opportunity of its players mean more than the phrase?

The stipend would appear to be the easiest problem teams could solve. In the end not paying a stipend would allow teams to actually provide better nutrition and amenities while on the road or in billett homes for players. It is not realistic to think that players go to the CHL to earn $50 a week is it? An extra $50 a week to the billett family could go a long way in recruiting new billett families as well provide current families with more resources to provide proper nutrition.

Funny how a simple seven line email provides clarity on the issues while also forcing you to ask one simple question; why would the CHL not want to take this course?

You may find one part of the answer here. The CHL Development Agreement With The NHL

If the CHL considers education packages secondary to NHL development, just come out and say it. Not many would be shocked, and more would probably say "no kidding". If the education of players is primary, then why not say it and prove it?

Business 101 says say what you are and be what you are in business. Dont open a sushi specialty shop and then promote your select steaks and curly fries, that tends to confuse your target customers. Perhaps some need to take refresher courses.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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