Thursday, September 13, 2012
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR ACC TO BUILD A HOCKEY CONFERENCE
Posted by DL
Perhaps you heard - Notre Dame is joining the ACC almost completely in all of its sporting endeavors. 20 of the schools 22 programs will be making their way into the regular schedule for everything from basketball through Olympic sports like soccer, women's field hockey, baseball, softball, among others. I mean, it's no 31 programs like BC currently has, but you do what you can.
Last year around this time, the Irish were busy announcing another conference change - in Hockey. Left in no man's land by way of the Big Ten hockey deal and the banding together of the best squads in the CCHA and WCHA, Notre Dame found their way into HockeyEast. They will now share almost every sport with the Eagles as conference mates in all but football. Notre Dame is now the only other school with a hockey program in the ACC - but that means we are a third of the way there for an ACC hockey conference of our own.
Let's start with some of our other new conference members. Syracuse has long been prime to join the NCAA hockey ranks. They have a minor league team and facility in town and enough upstate talent to certainly justify both men's and women's clubs - just a little investment a la a legacy gift like Penn State got, and we're up to three. Tap on Pitt, too, who probably would do anything to get attention off of Sunseri and the Todd Graham fiasco - as well as a great relationship with a town that has become hockey crazed again thanks to the Penguins and a new arena.
What would it take to get two more schools to join in? I mean, those other schools would maybe have to give up investment in other programs to keep balance of scholarships in tact under Title IX, but how hard can that be? NC State and Maryland are right near towns with NHL franchises, NC State carries a varsity Rifle squad and the Terps could probably shelf another few programs (they did cut eight at the end of last year) to make it happen.
It's just all so easy. I don't see why it hasn't happened yet.
UPDATE: We only need two more, as reader Leather_D points out on Twitter. May as well start planning the 2014-15 schedule now.