The NCAA is currently hearing the University of Wisconsin’s appeal of a one-year suspension handed down to freshman forward Nic Kerdiles. Details of the reasoning behind the hefty sanctions have been unclear, only that photos on Twitter sparked an investigation.
United States of Hockey has learned through a source with knowledge of the situation that the sanctions are not directly related to the photos, but confirmed the pictures led to the investigation. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the NCAA found that Kerdiles may have unintentionally accepted an improper benefit in the form of a loan.
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.
Here’s what the NCAA rulebook says:
18.104.22.168 Benefits from Prospective Agents.An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she(or his or her relatives or friends) accepts transportation or other benefits from:(Revised: 1/14/97)(a) Any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. The receipt of such expenses constitutes compensation based on athletics skill and is an extra benefit not available to the student body in general
That ruling is a little vague, but loans are included under the NCAA’s rules in regards to improper benefits (16.11), though there doesn’t seem to be a designation in the rules of what actually constitutes a loan.
In the end, it appears that the NCAA may be getting a tad liberal with it’s definition of a loan. Though the hotel room should have never been covered by Pulver’s credit card so as to ensure no violation would have occurred, this appears to be a rather minor issue in the grand scheme of NCAA sanctions. It certainly doesn’t seem worthy of a year-long ban.
At least there’s now a better idea of why the NCAA investigation took months and what the actual sanctions appear to be related to.
Kerdiles’s hearing began at 1:30 p.m. CT and a final ruling is expected to be known as early as today or no later than Friday.
United States of Hockey will stay on top of this still-developing story.