NCAA Bureaucrat Crushes Air Force Hockey Player

(left) Air Force Academy hockey player Kevin Wright lost his NCAA eligibility as the result of erroneous advice he received years ago from a community college academic counselor

From: Colorado Springs Gazette

by Jake Schaller

Air Force hockey player Kevin Wright, who will be a junior in the fall, is out of eligibility, according to the NCAA.

Why? Not for anything nefarious, but because he inadvertently started his “five-year clock,” during which an athlete must play his or her four seasons, three years before coming to the academy.

He did it – get this – by taking classes at a community college that is not affiliated with the NCAA and does not have a hockey program.

After high school Wright had no Division I offers, so he played midget hockey to attempt to attract the attention of junior league teams, from which colleges recruit players. Nearly all of Air Force’s players came to the academy after playing for junior league teams.

Nearly all those players also take some classes at community colleges to show they haven’t given up on academics (it looks better for applicants trying to impress admissions folks).

So why didn’t they start their five-year clocks? Because they took classes part-time, while Wright took enough classes to be considered full-time. That’s right – he’s being punished for doing too much academic work.

If that sounds crazy, consider these facts:

1. He was told by a counselor at the community college that his eligibility would not be affected. So he received bad counsel.

2. He was unable to bring the credits he amassed to Air Force (he had to start from scratch), so he received no benefit other than the knowledge that he gained.

3. Again, players taking classes prior to starting their clocks is common. The only reason Wright was affected was because he was considered full-time.

Still, the NCAA rejected his request for a waiver and his subsequent appeal.

“I just think it’s a horrible injustice,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “If he doesn’t qualify for an exemption, a waiver from the five-year rule, who the hell would?

There's a lot more about this in a story that appeared on the front page of The Gazette this morning.


Amy said...

That just horrible. Come on NCAA. How can you condone a student for taking community college classes in high school. This kid deserves to play.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the rule is pretty clear in this area - the clock starts ticking when you become a full-time student at a JC, College or University. No exceptions except for the very limited ones listed. Silly rule - punishes a kid for wanting to do something academically.

Most of the Junior players that I have known over the years don't even bother to attend classes while playing. Most work part-time jobs during the day and play in the evenings or they sit around playing video games all day.

This rule/situation really becomes interesting when you have junior players from the US who play in Canada and who attend Canadian schools (University) while they play Juniors. Can't recall one instance in which the clock began ticking in these situations. I guess that they are all categorized part time students under the Canadian system regardless.

Anonymous said...

Should this supprise anyone. The NCAA lives a ficticious world all the time. The NCAA is a fraud of an organization. They pretend that its about student athletes. College sports is about money, pure and simple. The athletes needs come last.

CO14ers said...

As former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth once said:


Anonymous said...

I bet if Air Force was a "hockey" school like Michigan or Boston things would play out a little differently

Anonymous said...

Happened to a buddy of mine up in North Dakota. Powerhouse or not.

Anonymous said...

North Dakota?? They're still around? Really?