NCAA Passes ‘Common Start Date’ Legislation

The Division I Management Council of the NCAA recently passed an amendment to its by-laws creating a common start date for men’s ice hockey.

This legislation will not take effect until August, 2004.

This date will be the Saturday of the 25th full weekend prior to the first round of the NCAA tournament. If the legislation took effect this season, that date would fall on Sept. 29-30. In 2004, it falls on Oct. 2.

The previous legislation said games and practices could not start before Sept. 7, or the institution’s first day of classes for the fall term, whichever was earliest — although, most teams did not start until later in September.

In effect, this will push the start of the season up a week, although starting in 2002-03, the NCAA tournament will be pushed up a week as well.

This season, three teams played exhibitions against Canadian schools on the weekend of Sept. 26. The following Friday, Oct. 5, was the Hall of Fame Game between Minnesota and North Dakota, followed a day later by a number of games.

The controversial original legislation, proposed by the ECAC and MAAC, would have added a provision prohibiting games from being played until two weeks after the practice start date. For 2004-05, that would have meant no games could be played before Oct. 16.

The proposal — as well as officials from the MAAC and ECAC — drew intense criticism from the hockey community, and the legislation was amended.