St. Cloud Editorial Rips School, President & AD

(above) St. Cloud State University president Dr. Earl Potter was ripped in an editorial
The shifting sands in college hockey due to schools changing conferences has caused a chain reaction of epic proportions.  Dave DeLand, the sports editor of the St. Cloud Times, is not pleased with the leadership at St. Cloud University or the fact that the Huskies will be playing in a stripped-down WCHA in two seasons.

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].


Anonymous said...

Deland should stop his bellyaching. St. CLoud is a D-II school that doesn't have the money, market or exposure to compete with the NCHC or Big 10,

However, St. Cloud is actually going to be the big winner in this new league scenario.

In the new WCHA, they will be the powerhouse program, with more money than other remaining WCHA programs and a great chance to be in the NCAAs annually without having to compete with the bigger boys on program investment. They won't have to spend as much on travel, either.

They will also play Minnesota regularly.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want....St. Cloud is a good hockey school that probably should have made the cut.

Anonymous said...

It was never about who is a good hockey school and who isn't.

The "cut" was all about past and future levels of school investment in hockey. St. Cloud's hockey budget and arena investment is below any other school in the NCHC.

Additionally, SCSU often stood in the way and voted aganist other investment proposals by other WCHA schools.

The reality is that SCSU is a D-II school who does hockey on the cheap and that's why they aren't in the new league. They should be with the other WCHA schools who don't have the money to spend on hockey - MSUM, UAA, MTU, and BSU.

dggoddard said...

It is interesting that MSU-Moorhead feels that hockey is so important to the school and the community that they are trying to raise $37 million.

Anonymous said...

Hey DG or any other knowledgeable readers,
I was just reading an article on ESPN about the Nebraska Cornhuskers joining the Big Ten for football. I never thought of Nebraska as a hockey state, but we obviously have Nebraska-Omaha in our league so apparently there is some interest. So my question is, has there ever been talk of Nebraska (Cornhuskers) pulling a Penn State and adding a D1 hockey program to compete in the new Big Ten hockey league?
If not, what do people think about that possibility?

Anonymous said...

my understanding (as an unknowledgeable reader) was that the program, now at UNO, was first offered to the Cornhuskers and they were uninterested in starting a hockey program. This is possibly just here-say, but I think i read that somewhere.

can anyone else agree or disagree?

Anonymous said...

I thought I read somewhere that their AD, Tom Osborne, said hockey would not be added. I thought he said that because of Title IX they would have to add women's hockey along with another women's sport.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 8:17

Nebraska, while not producing many players per se, has and does have many junior teams located there...

The Lincoln Stars, the Omaha Lancers and the Tri-City Storm are all from the USHL and are located in Nebraska -- there is interest in Nebraska no doubt.

Nebraska-Omaha provides a great game day experience (better than DU, IMVHO), however I doubt we will see NU Cornhusker hockey anytime soon.

old pio said...

Nebraska has made a point publicly that their new basketball arena will not accomodate hockey. In the early years of UNO hockey, they played in an old down town arena. And there were times they had games the same night as the Lancers of the USHL, and the games drew a total of 15,000. Omaha's a very good hockey town. And the Qwest center would be a good location for a conference championship. Remember the record breaking crowds they drew for the US swimming championships before the Peking Olympics? They do a terrific job with the World Series and would do the same for The National tournament. But, hockey at UNL? Never happen.

Anonymous said...

Latest quote from McLeod in the St. Cloud times:

“I just never thought we’d get here and I never thought we’d be like (Division I) football and basketball,” said Bruce McLeod, who has been WCHA commissioner since 1994. “You understand with those cases that there’s millions and millions of dollars involved.
“I’m not sure what the motivation is,” he said of hockey. “It’s turned into much more of a business — I need to take care of me. I’m just surprised we got here.”

Can there be anymore clueless leadership than that? The schools that have left the WCHA have invested hundreds of millions into hockey. I am so shocked at just how asleep this man was - his quotes astound me....No wonder everyone left...

dggoddard said...

You are so right about that. The fact that it happened to the Southwest Conference, the WAC/Mountain West & Big East hoops made it so easy to predict in this case.

DU spent $77 million on the new arena. They spend $500,000 annually switching the ice to basketball and back 120 times a year. Gwozdecky, Grahame, Tenzer & the assistants are paid in the $500,000 range. Travel costs and baggage fees explode.

And then to top it off Minnesota rams Bemidji, Mankato and a bunch of "no-name" schools down our throats.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, Bruce, Wake up, Man. The show's over...You missed it.

How did you not see the 'arms race' unfolding under your own watch?

Since 1993:
Mariucci Arena:$50 million
Kohl Center: $100 Million+
Englestad Arena: 100 Million+
Magness Arena: $85 Million
CS World Arena: $60 Million
Miami Goggin: $40 million
Notre Dame Arena:$0-50 Million
UNO Qwest Center: $291 Million
UMD Amoil Arena: $80 million

That's nearly a $1 Billion in arena costs alone in the last 20yrs for the above schools.

Did he really think those schools were spending all that money to sing kumbaya with all the schools could not or would not spend $50 million or more?

I find his quotes negligent and borderline criminal for a D-I conference commissioner...

Anonymous said...

The Qwest Center is not UNO's arena...they just play some of their big games there, they have their own arena and that is not the Qwest Center...

Anonymous said...

"Borderline criminal"

Well, McLeod is a convicted felon, fwiw...