After taking a number of nasty telephone calls this week from New England in regards to an earlier Dish concerning Toby Harris and the Jersey Hitmen, I've decided to stick my head out the window again and let a little more fly.
Believe it or not, Harris and the Hitmen are not the only ones being accused of bending the rules. The problem is what is being read between the lines of the NCAA's mountains of regulations. The one entity that clearly covers the situation is USA Hockey.
Team Individual Player Scholarships Prohibited
No team scholarships/financial discounts shall be allowed to any individual player based upon his skill and ability or game performances, without that individual player performing meaningful, productive work in exchange therefore off the ice and away from team competition. See NCAA Division I Manual, By Law Article XII - Amateurism, Section12.1-General Regulations, Sub Section 12.1.1 - Amateur Status (a).
The issue comes down to a simple problem that nobody wants to talk about, enforcement of the standards and rules set for the junior level of play.
USA Hockey's Junior Council is really good about making new rules, but much like Washington D.C., does very little to make sure that they are being followed, provide funding for enforcement, or set punishment standards for violations. That's what is going to happen when you let the wolves police the henhouse.
Teams and leagues complain about teams in the Eastern Junior Hockey League that are snagging players from higher levels of play but have little to say about the enforcement of other standards that are on the books. USAH VP & Junior Council Chair John Vanbiesbrouck has the opportunity to put his own stamp on the level of play. Will it be business as usual or will he bring the hammer to programs that refuse to comply? That remains to be seen.
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Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Friend him on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/stephen.heisler for more information and pictures from Mexico.