As first reported by Andy Johnson of Bucky’s 5th Quarter, the NCAA’s suspension to Nic Kerdiles for an amateurism violation has been reduced from one year to 30 percent of the season. Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal later tweeted that the suspension is down to 10 games, including time served, meaning Kerdiles only has eight games left to sit.
Reported first on United States of Hockey Thursday, the violation stems from Kerdiles apparently staying in a hotel room that was paid for with the credit card of family advisor and certified NHL player agent Ian Pulver. The NCAA ruled that as an improper benefit, considering it a loan to the Kerdiles family. The investigation was sparked by photos on Twitter of Kerdiles appearing with members of the Pulver Sports Agency and other tweets.
Wisconsin’s appeal was heard Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT and the decision was not delivered to the university’s athletic department until late Friday afternoon.
While 11 games is a hefty penalty, this is a positive result for Wisconsin and Kerdiles. To miss 30 percent of the season is not going to significantly set back the big forward’s development in the least. According to Johnson, Kerdiles is expected to stay at Wisconsin for the duration of the suspension and will be back with the Badgers by their Nov. 30 tilt with Denver.
UPDATE: The University of Wisconsin released the following statement.
Walter Dickey, Wisconsin’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Regulatory Affairs, who handled the appeal on behalf of the University of Wisconsin, issued the following statement.
“While we recognize the significant nature of a reduction in penalty from a full season withholding to 30 percent, we are dismayed that any penalty whatsoever was imposed on Nic Kerdiles in this matter. We remain confident that the facts demonstrate Nic had no culpability. The facts serve as evidence that he has the kind of character we believed he had when he was first recruited. Throughout this ordeal, Nic has demonstrated nothing but poise and integrity consistent with the outstanding student-athlete we know he is.
“Nic is currently exploring his options which we have encouraged him to do. Our hope is that he remains a Badger.”
Among Kerdiles’s options is the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets, which own his CHL rights. The 10 games is not a significant amount to miss, but missing time for something even the university views as too long has to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
College hockey has such a unique set of circumstances compared to other college athletics. This is a situation where the NCAA is shooting its own organization in the foot with a strict and heavy-handed ruling for what appears to be a minor infraction. While this is a positive result in Kerdiles will not be forced to sit out the season, it is still one that will be met with scrutiny and ridicule from Canadian Hockey League teams and will be pointed to in future recruiting battles.
This result may not hamper Kerdiles’s development should he choose to stay, but it could hinder his chances of making the U.S. roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. Not having many games before the camp roster will need to be picked won’t help, but USA Hockey knows Kerdiles well, as he was part of each of the last two gold medal winners at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Either way, it appears this saga is close to its conclusion. It was long, drawn out and got increasingly more ridiculous as time went on. At the end of the day, Kerdiles, while suffering through some serious early-season turmoil, will at least have the opportunity to play where he wanted to all along.
Having committed to the Badgers at age 15, Kerdiles has never wavered from that commitment when so many others do. It’s just too bad he had to go through that much stress for something relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
USofH will stick close to this story until Kerdiles announces his final decision directly.
Editor’s note: Portions of this post, originally published earlier this evening have been altered to reflect new details of this still-developing story.