Morrisville, along with Neumann, has joined the unwanted club previously occupied by Geneseo, Buffalo State, and Potsdam: It has been cited by the NCAA for improper aid to student-athletes.
To quickly review the situation — the NCAA has closely scrutinized the ratio of aid that goes to international and/or Canadian students versus student-athletes. If the ratio is found to be too much in favor of the student-athletes, the NCAA deems the aid to be de facto athletic scholarships, which are strictly forbidden in Division III.
Specifically, Morrisville had the International Incentive Grants and Canadian Student Initiative Grants to boost international enrollment. However, In 2009-10, nearly 29 percent of the grant aid was given to student-athletes, even though they represented only about 12 percent of the student body. A year later, about 37 percent of the aid was awarded to student-athletes, who made up 13 percent of the general student body. Ergo, the NCAA had an issue with this program.
The penalties are given to the teams that had players who received this type of aid, and for Morrisville, that was the men’s hockey team. The Mustangs are banned from any postseason action this year, and are on probation through January 18, 2014. The penalties were handed out by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed, disappointed for our kids,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “It’s been a frustrating year, right up to the latest unfortunate set of circumstances. The kids have really been tested with adversity since September to now.”
Some of the issues which schools have had with all this is the change in how the NCAA interpreted these rules, the lack of information the NCAA provides for good ratio numbers, the vague warnings the NCAA provides schools, and how many years the NCAA looks back on.
Nonetheless, the NCAA has decided on this path to even the playing field amongst Division III schools, and all colleges will have to abide by these rulings. Like I mentioned in the past, there is a very good chance other schools will run afoul even if they have heeded the warnings and cleaned up the present, considering the NCAA can look back a number of years.
In the meantime, Morrisville must move on like the teams in the past had to. In fact, a number of players were on Morrisville the year Geneseo was banned, allowing the Mustangs to get into the SUNYAC playoffs for the first time. But more so, Morrisville remembers the way Geneseo handled the situation, virtually running the table the rest of their season.
“Can’t say enough for the way Geneseo responded and finished the year,” Grady said. “That’s what we look at as an example. I think our kids handled it well this past weekend, putting together a very strong effort. That was satisfying.
“Every day is a challenge. We still harp on the same things — hard work, discipline, integrity, playing for each other. For the underclassmen, they want to send the seniors out on a winning note, as well as set a base for the program.”
Pink the Rink
It’s where it all started. Fredonia, which introduced the Pink the Rink concept that has since been adopted by numerous other institutions and professional hockey teams, will be hosting its sixth annual event this Friday against Morrisville. Once again, the players will be wearing pink jerseys and pink socks.
To purchase a Pink the Rink jersey, contact coach Jeff Meredith at (716) 673-3334.
Due to the popularity of the event, the Steele Hall ticket windows will open a half hour earlier than normal at 5:30 p.m. Doors to the ice arena will open at 6:00 p.m., one hour before game time. Ticket prices remain the same ($5 for adults; $2 for children and students) and as usual, Fredonia students get in for free with valid college ID.
SUNYAC Players of the Week (selected by the conference)
Player of the Week: Bryan Ross, Sr., Fredonia. Assisted on both game-winning goals on the weekend. Friday night he assisted on the game-winning goal early in the third period and scored an insurance goal into an empty net vs. Brockport. Saturday, he assisted on the game-winning goal early in the third period vs. Geneseo. Ross has tallied at least a point in the last four games for the Blue Devils, and moves up into seventh spot in Fredonia’s all-time career scoring list with 127 points.
Rookie of the Week: Chris Carr, Oswego. Registered his first collegiate points during a weekend when the Lakers defeated Cortland, 5-1, and Hamilton, 6-1. Carr assisted the first goal and scored the second goal against Cortland on Friday night. He later assisted Oswego State’s third and final goal versus Hamilton.
Goalie of the Week: Mark Friesen, So., Fredonia. Earned his second straight Goalie of the Week honor after posting two wins at home against Brockport and Geneseo. Fredonia rallied from a two-goal deficit Friday night en route to a 4-2 victory over the Golden Eagles as Friesen finished with 29 saves. Friesen made 29 saves on Saturday night against the Ice Knights in the 4-2 win. Three of the goals allowed on the weekend came on the opponents’ power play.