The NCAA Executive Committee announced today that the University of Maine will retain their 1993 Ice Hockey National Championship.
Amid numerous NCAA violations, the one pertaining to Dunham was his acceptance of a stipend when he was the U.S. Olympic tean. The goalie was a member of the 1993 national champions.
The Executive Committee met and ruled immediately today that Maine had no knowledge with regards to the eligibility question of Dunham, and that Dunham and his family followed correct protocol in their decision making process. The NCAA termed Dunham’s family acted in “good faith.”
“We were very concerned,” said Maine sports information director Matt Bourque, “but what the NCAA went back to is that this student athlete [Dunham] and family had followed the proper channels and were misadvised by USA Hockey.
“The NCAA concluded that Maine had no knowledge.”
Since Maine reported numerous NCAA violations back in December, there had been many questions as to whether or not it would keep the title in light of eligibility questions for two players on that team, forward Cal Ingraham and goaltender Mike Dunham.
In the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions report, the NCAA threw out Cal Ingraham’s eligibility question. Ingraham sat out 14 games during the 1993-94 season, in effect, satisfying the NCAA in that regard. To penalize him again would be what is called “double-jeopardy” on the University of Maine.
The big question was Dunham, whose family accepted over $1,000 for his playing on the U.S. Olympic team in 1992. Dunham’s mother accepted a check from USA Hockey, and deposited it into Dunham’s account only after USA Hockey reportedly told Mrs. Dunham that the money was for expenses Dunham incurred, and was permissible under NCAA rules.
The key in this case hinged on whether or not Maine, as an institution, should be penalized for something they had no control or knowledge over. However, the NCAA is usually very cut-and-dry with regards to titles.
“It’s almost automatic,” said Robin Green of the NCAA Committee on Infrations with regards to the NCAA stripping titles from schools using ineligible players.
Bourque said that the Maine program finally had some positive news.
“It’s finally some positive news, not only for the program, but for the fans,” Bourque said.
The only issue left pending is Maine’s expected appeal of next year’s post-season ban. There is no word on a time-table for that at this time.