According to University of Wisconsin, the NCAA has ruled prized freshman forward Nic Kerdiles ineligible for the season, due to an apparent amateurism violation. Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said the school is appealing the decision.
As reported Sunday on United States of Hockey, photos surfaced on Twitter of Kerdiles, which apparently led to the investigation that ultimately has ruled him ineligible. According to Andy Johnson of Bucky’s 5th Quarter, a University of Wisconsin athletics blog, the photos showed Kerdiles at a dinner with his family advisor, NHL player agent Ian Pulver, and other clients of the Pulver Sports agency.
The issue at hand appears to be based around Kerdiles’s relationship with Pulver, and has nothing to do with the autographs for Twitter followers situation initially reported yesterday.
Players are allowed to have family advisors, but there are clear guidelines within the NCAA rules that govern the role of advisors, which Johnson shared in his piece. It remains unclear, what, if any violation was actually committed. Surely photos of a dinner are not enough to warrant a yearlong suspension. Details of the NCAA’s investigation have been tight lipped, so anything more on their decisions would be purely speculatory at this point.
Johnson’s reporting on the matter covers more bases as to what led to this suspension, so be sure to click the link.
UPDATE: Johnson’s latest report also includes a a tweet from Pulver’s account that includes a photograph of Kerdiles along with Pulver Sports clients (represented by Igor Larionov) Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov holding up BioSteel products, which could be construed as another violation.
Wisconsin’s appeal will be a last-ditch effort to get the blue-chip recruit reinstated by the NCAA. That process is outlined here.
Should the appeal be denied and/or the suspension is upheld, it is likely Kerdiles would withdraw from school and head to the Western Hockey League. The Kelowna Rockets retain the big forward’s WHL rights. Muskegon claimed Kerdiles’s USHL rights Sunday, but I have been told that is not a likely destination for the Anaheim Ducks prospect.
Kerdiles was expected to be a big part of the Badgers’ plans for this upcoming season. Having led the U.S. National Under-18 Team in scoring, finishing among the top scorers at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and getting picked by Anaheim 36th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Kerdiles was widely considered one of the top college recruits in the country.
The NCAA has a hard enough time stemming the flow of prospects to the Canadian Hockey League, but in this case could push a player who actually wishes to go to school in the other direction. Kerdiles committed to the Badgers at age 15 and turned down overtures from Kelowna to play in the WHL on multiple occasions.
This is an unfortunate situation to be sure. Without knowing more about the investigation, it is unclear what comes next. This case could prove to be central in the monitoring of player and family advisor relationships. It is well known that high-end players in all sports often retain family advisors, which is sure to make the NCAA nervous, but is likely a necessary evil in the current athletics climate.
United States of Hockey will stay on top of this story as it continues to develop.