|(above) St. Cloud State University president Dr. Earl Potter was ripped in an editorial|
He asked some pointed questions in a July 16th editorial, including;
How did SCSU wind up on the outside, looking toward a future in a third-rate, stripped-down WCHA instead of in college hockey’s new “super conference”?
How did the Huskies go from big-time program to scorned afterthought?
St. Cloud State is paying consultant [former North Dakota hockey coach] Gino Gasparini $90,000 for six months to “create a new and expanded vision for the future of Husky athletics." Why wasn’t he able to prevent the Huskies from being shunted aside?
SCSU also is paying athletic director Morris Kurtz nearly $130,000 to stay around for a lame-duck year before his June 2012 retirement. What exactly is his role with the hockey program now? Does he even have one?
SCSU is getting ready to start a $28.8 million renovation project at the National Hockey Center. Is that even needed now that the building’s primary tenant is headed for a significant league downgrade — and, in all likelihood, an attendance downsizing?
How does the WCHA implosion affect fundraising for the NHC renovation? Funds for the initial $14 million stage are in hand, but part of the funds for the $14.8 million second stage are supposed to come from future revenue — and that will almost certainly be diminished by the conference’s breakup.
How do you sell naming rights for the arena of a team in a third-tier conference? In 2013-14, that’s exactly what the WCHA will be.
SCSU’s football program narrowly avoided elimination last year, and the student fee increase that saved it expires after the 2013 season — the same time that the hockey team becomes part of an inferior league. Does that make football unaffordable?
How will the WCHA downgrade affect businesses in St. Cloud? A weekend series against North Dakota or Wisconsin or Minnesota-Duluth currently brings a bunch of out-of-towners into hotels and restaurants, but St. Cloud doesn’t get much of a tourism bump when Anchorage comes to town.
This much is certain: There’s a new reality in the WCHA, and for the teams left behind it’s starkly depressing. St. Cloud State is left with no good outcomes and no good options — only more questions [read entire editorial].