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College Hockey:
How the 2013-14 conferences look after NCHC goes to 8

Following up on an earlier post on how the conferences will look in 2013-14, when the Big Ten and National Collegiate Hockey Conference form, here’s the breakdown after the NCHC’s addition of St. Cloud State and Western Michigan:

ATLANTIC HOCKEY (12 teams, unchanged)
Air Force *
American International #
Army *
Bentley #
Canisius *
Connecticut *
Holy Cross *
Mercyhurst #
Niagara *
Rochester Institute of Technology ^
Robert Morris *
Sacred Heart *

BIG TEN (6 teams, new)
Michigan (from CCHA) *
Michigan State (from CCHA) *
Minnesota (from WCHA) *
Ohio State (from CCHA) *
Penn State (from independent) *
Wisconsin (from WCHA) *

CCHA (2 teams, loses 9)
Bowling Green *
Notre Dame *

ECAC HOCKEY (12 teams, unchanged)
Brown *
Clarkson ^
Colgate *
Cornell *
Dartmouth *
Harvard *
Princeton *
Quinnipiac *
Rensselaer ^
St. Lawrence ^
Union ^
Yale *

HOCKEY EAST (10 teams, unchanged)
Boston College *
Boston University *
Maine *
Massachusetts *
Massachusetts-Lowell #
Merrimack #
New Hampshire *
Northeastern *
Providence *
Vermont *

NCHC (8 teams, new)
Colorado College (from WCHA) ^
Denver (from WCHA) *
Miami (from CCHA) *
Minnesota-Duluth (from WCHA) #
Nebraska-Omaha (from WCHA) *
North Dakota (from WCHA) *
St. Cloud State (from WCHA) #
Western Michigan (from CCHA) *

WCHA (8 teams, loses 8, adds 4)
Alaska (from CCHA) #
Alaska-Anchorage #
Bemidji State #
Ferris State (from CCHA) #
Lake Superior State (from CCHA) #
Michigan Tech #
Minnesota State #
Northern Michigan (from CCHA) #

INDEPENDENT (1 team)
Alabama-Huntsville #

* – Schools at Division I level in all sports (38, 64 percent)
# – Schools at Division II level in most sports but Division I for hockey (15, 25 percent)
^ – Schools at Division III level in most sports but Division I for hockey (6, 10 percent)

As before, Bowling Green and Notre Dame are listed under the CCHA banner because they haven’t yet announced where they’re headed. The WCHA’s deadline for Bowling Green to act on an invitation was set to come up this week, but now it appears that has been extended to Oct. 7, according to Kevin Gordon of the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune.

And as for Notre Dame, you have to think that the tumult in the Big East Conference, in which the Irish are members for many sports, could further push back a decision from South Bend. Every time there’s a conference change, the Notre Dame-to-the-Big Ten machine gets going again, and this week has been no different.

By now, I’m just hoping we have a picture of how this thing is going to look by sometime in 2013.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVMD4MGJ5M54DAEM2Q76VRYMIM bobby

    Still no love for Castleton I see. Continuously picked every weekend to lose and they always pull through. No love in the rankings, no love in the blogs, well I’m glad they kicked ass this weekend and proved once again they belong. Unlike the other top ten teams that continue to fall each week.

  • Mshyacinth

    Friday night’s game against Norwich. Total blowout: Wesleyan 5, Norwich 2. Incredibly well fought game by Wesleyan.

  • DIII hockey fan

    I’d like to know who votes in these polls or whose smoking Norwich’s Pole. Unfortunately most people can’t watch DIII hockey on TV like DI otherewise an honest hocky voter would see Norwich is not the team it was last year… not yet anyway. Bowdoin and Colby wins were overated. And I guess losses to unranked Plattsburg twice, Manhattanville, Weslyan, and Castleton all supposedly lesser teams, doesn’t count. Get a grip voters how can a team stay in the same position after such losses… five to be exact.

  • Joe C

    Todd

    Thanks for the update. I agree that Notre Dame is waiting for a football/Big East resolution to be complete. The last thing Notre Dame wants to do is to accept an invite to NCHC, WCHA or Hockey East, only to be forced to join the Big 10 (and by extension BTHC) between now and 2013.

    They can see the acrimony that was caused by Texas A&M, Syracuse and Pittsburgh’s moves, as well as the threatened moves by a host of other schools. Notre Dame strongly desires to keep its football independence and not be seen as burning any bridges, especially in this “me-first, do what is right for the university/league” mode that has infected the minds of those charge with running college sports.

    • Joezur

      I do not think the Big Ten would accept them with only a partial commitment – either all sports or none. Their desire for independence in football will limit their options for other sports.

      • Joe C

        Anyone that has heard the Big Ten speak on the subject of Notre Dame KNOWS that Notre Dame would join based on football and all sports would follow. Notre Dame does not want to join ANY conference for football and lose its NBC contract.

        Your points are the same as what Todd posted and what I posted. There is no way that Notre Dame joins Big Ten or Big Ten Hockey Conference unless Notre Dame could no longer survive as a legitimate independent in football.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ltpowers99 J. Isaac Powers

    Since WMU won’t be going to the WCHA, that leaves the WCHA without any D-I programs in their conference.  If Bowling Green and Notre Dame don’t join, what happens to the WCHA as a D-I conference?

    • Fan Man

      I would have to assume nothing.  The teams(some) that will start the 2013-14 season have a rich hockey tradition and the WCHA as a whole, I cannot forsee collapsing ever!

      • Smith

        Never say never!  Especially in this “every school for themself” environment…

    • Joe C

      I think that they lose their seat at the D-I table, which means they cannot vote on D-I policies, be on committees, etc. I wonder if the NCAA will create a hockey exemption for this circumstance, since there is no D-II hockey level.

      I do not think this changes the autobid, at-large bids or anything else related to hockey. I think it means that they are affliated with D-I for hockey but the league will not have a vote the way that AHA, HE, ECAC, NCHC and BTHC do or the way that CCHA and WCHA have currently.

      The NCAA will have two years to work on it in any case, since WCHA (and CCHA by the way) will meet the requirements until realignment is officially official.

      • Anonymous

        You are correct Joe – only full DI institutions can vote on DI policies, rules, etc.  It changes nothing in regards to AQ, tourney selection, etc.  Given the relative small number of DI hockey schools and the fact it’s a relatively tight knit community (believe it or not it still is) – there will always be someone who will stand up for the interests of non DI schools -  whether they’re in thier conference or not.  It would be impossible to do something to screw over the DII WCHA schools without doing the same to a DII school in your own conference (in the NCHC’s case SCSU and UMD).

        One other point – the NCAA is conference neutral.  In a pure sense anyway.  Member schools vote as being DI members as a whole not necessarily as a representative of a particular conference.  At least that’s how I understand it. 

        DII schools can play DI hockey and offer the full number scholarships by the fact the NCAA does not offer a DII hockey championship. 

        • Joe C

          Thanks for the confirmation. I do not think Hockey East, AHA, ECAC or NCHC with D-II and D-III members will ignore their needs. I also highly do not the BTHC will attempt anything in hockey that would be detrimental to D-II/D-III programs. WCHA seems to be in decent shape in 2013-2014 no matter what happens next.

    • Robert8_fun

      Air Force could always join the WCHA as a D-1 member. Air Force is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado yet plays in Atlantic Hockey. Air Force would fit in the WCHA. Let’s hope that happens.

  • JamesDee

    I predict that Mankato and Bemdji end up in the NCHC  to make 10 teams. 

    The fourAHA and Bowling Green end up in the WCHA to make 12 teams.

    • #1 Ranked Sioux fan

      James, you’re NUTS to think the NCHC will want Mankato or Bemidji joining.  The NCHC is looking for schools that will ‘enable’ them larger media coverage, higher competitive levels, and more funds for the conference monopoly.  The two schools you mention do none of those things for the conference.

      I bet they will stay fat/happy with the 8 teams they have now until such time other large schools want to jump ship and commit to a top-level D1 hockey program.  They’re not going to extend invitations to MSU or BSU and possibly close the door from other elite schools looking over the fence and jumping ship.

      The conference only need 8 teams for automatic tourney bids.  They are now sitting in the drivers seat waiting for other moves.  Trust me…  ;-)

      • Joe C

        NCHC only needed six teams to have an autobid. They had that when they founded. However, the overall point you were making is quite valid.

        Under 10 teams, you can work around not having an even number of teams, especially with Alabama-Huntsville looking for assistance and with the BTHC at only 6 teams, they would be willing to split weeknds between BTHC and NCHC for a portion of their teams during conference play.

        I am not sure what programs are out there big enough to jump, other than the very obvious Notre Dame, which has a gigantic financial reason to wait and Bowling Green, which probably only goes to NCHC as a pair with Notre Dame.

        NCHC and BTHC are probably also content to wait for other large programs to come into existence in the mode of Penn State. The Big Ten schools are obvious is not very willing. For NCHC, it would be large public schools west of the Mississippi. I am not sure what, if any interest there is today, but do not discount the NHL/AHL presence to increase interest. That is what happened at the high school level and below in Massachusetts after Bobby Orr played for the Bruins. Then again, college hockey already had a foothold.

      • hockey fan

        Then why did they invite St. Cloud? St. Cloud and Mankato have similar sized instituions and budgets and are both close to the Twin Cities market. Mankato plays in a good facility (better than NHC). They both have had hockey for over 40 years. The only difference is that St. Cloud was allowed to move up to D1 a few years before Mankato.

        • BulldogFan

          St. Cloud has a much bigger fan base than Mankato (look at attendance) and has been much more competitive. As a Bulldog fan I have no love for SCSU but to compare them to Mankato is laughable.  SCSU bring more to the table than Mankato ever could.  The NCHC could care less about keeping the MN schools together just like they could care less about keeping the MAC schools together.  I think that the majority of Bulldog fans get much more fired up when UND and SCSU come to Amsoil then Mankato and BSU.  That is not a shot at BSU they are a good hockey team that will probably be the top dog in the new WCHA.         

      • JamesDee

        If Notre Dame, Boston College, and Boston University all have said no who else are they going to invite to keep all four Minnesota schools together (UMD, Mankato, St Cloud, and Bemdji)

        The Minnesota schools arent going to want to travel to Bowling Green, Cansius, Erie, Niagara, and Robert Morris if these AHA teams join.

        • B.D.

          Why should there be an effort to keep the Minnesota schools together?

          • JamesDee

            Their is an effort to keep the Alaska and UP schools together.

            Why not keep the Minnesota and MAC schools intact?

            Rivals are important in sports and by seperating the teams of rivals only hurts sports.

          • B.D.

            So, who is BSU’s rival?  Mankato?  And why could they not play them in non-conference games?
            Nope, not seeing any value in keeping Minnesota teams together in the same league simply to do so.

          • BeaverPride

            The value is in decreased travel costs, and increased ability for fans to travel between conference games.  Nope, there is some value there.

            I do, however, agree that the NCHC will snub both schools since MSU has not accomplished much in the current WCHA, and Bemidji is a smaller school that’s new to the WCHA.  Hope they keep that mind set for now, as BSU has proven to be a menace in post season play.

            By the way, BSU had a growing rivalry with NoDak (mostly for geographical reasons), UMD and UNO for sure.  If anyone doesn’t want them in the NCHC, it’s Omaha:)

      • MSU – Mankato Fan

        I understand your writing off Mankato and Bemidji due to their lack of major D1 hockey tradition and history, but let’s not call MSU a small school.  Here’s a breakdown of the student body sizes (2010) at the 8 member NCHC schools, along with Mankato and BSU:

        Colorado College – 2,011
        University of Denver – 11,842
        University of Minnesota, Duluth – 11,729
        Miami of Ohio – 17,267
        University of Nebraska at Omaha – 14,903
        University of North Dakota – 14,076
        St. Cloud State University – 18,319
        Western Michigan University – 25,045

        Bemidji State University – 5,365
        Minnesota State University, Mankato – 15,393

        You read that correctly.  Mankato is the 4th largest university on the list.  Their downfall is that they are located in the third smallest (only to Oxford, OH and Bemidji) city out of the group.  Add in the fact that the state of Minnesota seems hell-bent on maintaining only one full D1 university, and a large collection of MSU students still cheer for the Gophers.

        I still argue, though, that if both North Dakota and South Dakota can have TWO D1 schools each, it’s absolutely ridiculous that SCSU, MSU, and UMD aren’t D1.  I guarantee you if Mankato or SCSU was D1 across the board, they wouldn’t have both been afterthoughts at the start of this whole process.

        I’m happy SCSU got in, but I’m bummed Mankato was excluded.  From an all-around standpoint, as a whole, SCSU and Mankato are twin schools.  They’re both D1 in hockey, both D2 across the rest of their sports, both are situated in okay-sized cities, and both are located about an hour from the Twin Cities.

        Along the same lines, I’m also happy that UMD got in.  However, one has to wonder.  If they hadn’t just won their first hockey National Championship, and had the state of Minnesota not funded a brand new arena for them, would they have been as highly sought after?  I realize their D1 hockey history stretches way back, but would that have been enough to make an otherwise D2 institution a must add?
         

        I hope all of this conference realignment works out well for everyone, but man do I wish my Mavericks had been one of the final adds to the NCHC.  Maybe someday.

      • BeaverPride

        A conference only needs 6 teams for an auto bid, FYI.

  • Bruce

    If Notre Dame joins NCHC, location-wise BGSU makes sense as the 10th NCHC team for scheduling reasons.  For a balanced schedule, every team in a 10 team league would play each of the other 9 teams 3 times, twice at one school and once at the other school, for a total of 27 league games.  BGSU, Miami, Notre Dame, and WMU would give the NCHC 4 eastern schools.  If Notre Dame is paired with WMU and Miami is paired with BGSU, each western school could play 1 home game and 2 away games with the two schools in one pairing and 2 home games and 1 away game with the two schools in the other pairing, with the single away games scheduled the same weekend.  For example, a weekend could have Denver at Miami and CC at BGSU Friday evening and Denver at BGSU and CC at Miami Saturday evening.  The same thing would work with Notre Dame and WMU.  For teams traveling west, CC and Denver would be paired.  The four northwestern schools are not as close, but something could probably be worked out.   

    • Joe C

      The model is the Hockey East model and it is very stable. Going further with the Hockey East model, before UVM joined, the 9-team league was also very stable, as each school rotated during the conference play to play ECAC teams. The Clarkson/St Lawrence pod was very familiar for the Hockey East schools.

      During the early years of Hockey East, there was a lot of inter-conference play during conference play, as the ECAC found it convenient. Expect the same from BTHC and WCHA with respect to NCHC, although I suspect more with BTHC from a simple gate/television perspective. I foresee a short-term series of interleague play like Minnesota/North Dakota, Ohio State/Miami being a sample. Just like old Hockey East or current MLB interleague, some matchups are naturals and some will be made just to fill up the calendar.
       

    • BulldogFan

      27 league games would not work its not an even number so some teams would play 14 home and 13 away while the others would do the opposite.  That wouldn’t fly with the coaches considering how big the home ice advantage will be in this league.  If it were a 9 team league there would be 28 games.  My guess would be 6 of the teams you would play 4 times (1 home series and 1 away series) and 1 team you would only play in a home series and the other only in an away series.  I would guess it would be on a rotating cycle as to the 2 teams you would only play 1 series a year against.    

    • B.D.

      I see no value in letting Bowling Green into the NCHC.  Please tell me what could possibly make them WANT to include them.  They do not play to the same competitive standard so they would simply be “Ring up competition.”
      Nothing says you have to have an even number of teams in a league, particularly in the premier league whose members will be sought after for non-conference games.

      • Ring_of_Fire

        While I don’t disagree with your point about Bowling Green’s lack of competitiveness (especially recently), the thing about BGSU is that it is Miami’s #1 rival…both geographically and athletically.

        Miami did not have the clout to demand that the NCHC include BGSU in the first go-round, but I could see the folks in Oxford making some noise to get them in now…particularly if Notre Dame doesn’t joint.

        • B.D.

          Okay, so all the prinicipal teams should demand their traditional rivals be allowed in?  Miami will still have the option of playing BGSU in non-conference play just like UND will have the option of playing Minneosta and Bmidji State.  And since the league is smaller they will have MORE opporunities for non-conference games.

      • JamesDee

        Bowling Green might want to fold because the new WCHA would kill Bowling Greens hockey program just in traveling.

        The NCHC would be good for Bowling Green because of the rivals of WMU and Miami.

        The AHA might be Bowling Greens best bet. Time will tell.

        • B.D.

          Or go to a lower division where they can be more competitive and travel less.

  • Robert8_fun

    I think the CCHA is going to be saved. Bowling Green State would have announced their move by now to the WCHA. There really is no reason for BGSU to wait and due their ‘due dilligence’ on the WCHA. I don’t think the NCHC wants Bowling Green State and is happy with the 8 schools the NCHC has. BGSU, Notre Dame, the 4 Atlantic Hockey schools(now with 18 scholarships) and Alabama-Huntsville(saving the program) can form a 7 team CCHA. Just work with that. The Atlantic Hockey schools won’t join the WCHA because they don’t want to travel to Alaska twice each year. Notre Dame doesn’t want to go conference hopping while it waits for the football situation to be resolved. Just stay in the CCHA until the football conference situation gets resolved. Hopefully by then, the CCHA will be able to add new schools that start up a hockey program. Wayne State maybe? ND will leave the CCHA at that point.

    • JamesDee

      Bowling Green will not save the CCHA. They almost lost the program two years ago.

  • FalconFan

    Time for the Big 10 to “pony up” and extend an invite to Notre Dame and Bowling Green.  A 6 team league makes no sense.

    • B.D.

      But that ruins the rationale for them to exist in the first place…

    • JoeZ

      The Big Ten DID extend them an invitation several years ago. The leprechaun tols them to “Pound salt”.

    • Joe C

      Bowling Green is not a AAU (Association of American Universities) and therefore will never get an invite from the Big Ten.

  • Guest

    The WCHA Women’s conference is a mess! Commissioner McLeod ought to kick out all of the NCHC and Big Ten schools, tell Bemidji and MN State to move to the CHA, and just shut it down. Don’t let the NCHC and Big Ten schools use the WCHA name is any way, shape or form.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RXIYXPN5XUZ2V5UT7CEV2YHZBY A guy named Joe

    You should further split D-I into BCS, FBS, FCS, and no football.  It really reveals the dynamics at play.  For example, UNH is FCS, BGSU is FBS, while the BTHC is BCS.

    BCS (9):  BTHC, ND, BC, UConn
    FBS (7):  Miami, BGSU, UNH, USAFA, USMA, UMass*, WMU
    FCS (12):  HC, SHU, Colgate, Ivy Group, Maine, UNH, UND
    None (10):  Canisius, NIA, RMU, BU, NE, PVD, UVM, DU, UNO, QU

    (I think that’s right)

    • Ring_of_Fire

      And your point is?

  • Ssweetmj

    Y’all are assuming that Bowling Green will continue it’s Hockey Program.
    Quite frankly, I don’t see it happening. As for Notre Dame, Look for them to join the B-10 in a couple of years. Otherwise, they would have announced their joining HE by now.
    Will the Wisconsin and Minnesota Women’s Hockey programs stay with the WCHA? Seeing how MSU and um have no intention of moving their Club programs
    to Varsity status.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      On what basis are you suggesting that Notre Dame will join the Big Ten?

      Regional considerations?

      Pure speculation?

      What?

      • B.D.

        Yeah, Notre Dame being lured into the Big Ten for hockey would be an obvous trap to bring their considerable viewing audience to football and basketball as well.  I do not see Notre Dame being that unwise.

      • JoeZ

        @Ring_of_Fire as I read between the lines of your comment I agree. The Big Ten will only accept them in if they agree to be “All in” – as in all sports. Their desire to keep football independent will keep them out ot the Big Ten. Several years ago the Big Ten DID extend an offer. I thought they would be an EXCELLENT addition. Half their schedule was against Big Ten teams. They had an academic reputation comparable to Big Ten Schools. They declined. They did not want to share their football broadcast contract as they would have been required to do. I said then, as did Bo, “To Hell With Notre Dame”.

    • Joe C

      Ssweet

      There is one and only one reason Notre Dame joins the Big 10 in all sports and by extension joins the BTHC. That reason would be SEC goes to 16 teams, ACC goes to 16 teams, PAC-12 becomes PAC-16 and Big-12/Big East get picked apart for the better remaining schools like Texas, Oklahoma, UConn, Missouri etc in no particular order. Basically, if there are four major conferences will close to 16 teams, Notre Dame will be forced to join ACC or Big Ten to retain its BCS option.

      Honestly, BTHC is less of a possiblity for Notre Dame than moving to WCHA in two years, since the Big Ten has emphatically stated that if a program joins for one sport, it joins for all sports. This is the death knell for Notre Dame’s football independence and monster TV contract for football. There is no way Notre Dame makes a decision about all of its sports based on finding a new home for its men’s hockey program.

  • Bruce

    Lets hope that this realignment is done with some inteligence
    and limited chaos like we are seeing with the mess surrounding
    football

  • http://twitter.com/joeyjr Joey Loeffler, Jr.

    If Notre Dame makes it in the National and gets to keep their abusive, hostile name while one of the founding members is forced to change theirs it will only further prove how completely subjective the NCAA’s stance is when it comes to big name/big money schools.

  • Guestbopper

    Prediction: If BGSU goes to the WCHA, varsity hockey folds in Huntsville.

  • BeaverPride

    I agree that the CCHA should find a way to stay alive.  The more auto-bids the better for programs’ success…   What about this option?

    CCHA: (7 or 8 teams)
    Notre Dame
    Alabama-Huntsville (Let them in!)
    Bowling Green
    Buffalo (Assuming they get this thing off the ground)
    Ferris State (Drop the WCHA and stay in a better geographic location)
    Niagra (Moves from AHA)
    RIT (See above)
    Robert Morris (Ditto)

    AHA: (8 teams)
    American International
    Army
    Bentley
    Canisius
    UConn
    Holy Cross
    Mercyhurst
    Sacred Heart

    WCHA: (8 teams)
    Air Force (Moves from AHA, makes geographic sense, get WCHA a DI school)
    Alaska
    Alaska-Anchorage
    Bemidji State
    Lake Superior State
    Michigan Tech
    Minnesota State Mankato
    Northern Michigan

    NCHC: (8 teams)
    Colorado College
    Denver
    Miami (OH)
    Minnesota Duluth
    Nebraska Omaha
    North Dakota Fighting Something
    St Cloud State
    Western Michigan

    Hockey East, ECAC and Big Ten remain intact

    • Robert8_fun

      Hey, I like this!
      -Don’t forget to add Minnesota State Moorhead to the WCHA when they start a program.
      -Its the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
      -Looks like Notre Dame is going to Hockey East. HE will then take UConn to get to 12.  
      -I would flip Canisius and RIT around. Canisius, like Niagara, is located in Buffalo which is further west than Rochester(geographic sense) and Canisius has stated that they want out of Atlantic Hockey so they can play with 18 scholarships in the CCHA. The same with Mercyhurst, which is located in Pittsburgh, west of Buffalo, - they want 18 scholarships too. That would leave AH with 6 members; American International, Army, Bentley, RIT, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart. All of those schools are ok with playing at 12 scholarships in AH. What happens then hopefully is that the Ivy League forms(6 schools) and the 6 ECAC non-Ivy League schools merge with the remaining 6 AH schools to form a potential 12 team ECHA.
      -I agree completely about moving Ferris State back to the CCHA and letting Alabama-Huntsville in the CCHA!  

      • BeaverPride

        I agree with the Canisius and RIT flip – Forgot Canisius was in Buffalo area.  If ND goes to HE, I agree UConn will follow.  Maybe if both Buffalo and Moorhead both go DI, then LSS stays in CCHA as well and MSM goes WCHA.  Thanks for the ideas.  Wish someone with the ability to change this would read up.

    • Guest

      Air Force should definitely join the WCHA.