Erickson: Kerdiles has tough path to clearance

first_imgRaise your hand if you are on Twitter or Facebook.Yeah that’s what I thought. It’s ok folks, I’m constantly tuned in to both.But these days words like “make your profile private” and “don’t share any of your personal information online” are becoming everyday turns of phrase just like “look both ways before you cross the street” and “never accept candy from a stranger.”Unfortunately for freshman forward Nic Kerdiles, he didn’t heed the aforementioned warnings and shared a little too much information via both popular social feeds. That little slip has caused the NCAA to question the Irving, Calif., native’s eligibility and as of this week, he has been suspended for the season. The Wisconsin men’s hockey team is currently appealing the decision.Here’s the situation. Kerdiles posted a photo donning gear from Pulver Sports – an agency – and also tweeted that he went out to dinner with them. These posts have cost him a year of college hockey. But the catch is, if Kerdiles didn’t keep the gear or if he paid for his own dinner then he should be cleared – something the athletic department is currently trying to argue.Now, all anyone can do is simply wait. Chances are if Wisconsin loses the appeal, Kerdiles will leave UW and play in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets. If he did that though, it would only delay serving the current ban. If that would be the case, it’s safe to say Kerdiles will never skate as a Badger.But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Here are the facts: Kerdiles is currently suspended because of ineligibility and Wisconsin is appealing that decision.To put it bluntly: it sucks. Kerdiles was expected to make an impact immediately, slated to skate on the top line alongside juniors Mark Zengerle and Tyler Barnes. The Badgers know what they have without him simply because he’s a freshman, but the 2012-13 squad would be bolstered that much more by the 18-year-old forward who was drafted 36th overall in the 2012 NHL draft.But also considering recent cases of similar situations, it’s quite unfair.There is no way the NCAA can be 100 percent positive Kerdiles actually did anything wrong, maybe he did pay for those meals on his own. Maybe he isn’t paying anyone from Pulver Sports and is simply getting advice – which is allowed.Kerdiles faces a very similar situation former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton faced two years ago. Newton was accused of allegations that would have made him ineligible for the season, which ultimately would have cost him a Heisman Trophy and a national title. But while the NCAA was processing the allegations he was still allowed to play. The NCAA sort of swept the whole thing under their living room rug and pretended nothing happened. They didn’t seem to really force the issue, even with their investigation. We also see this all the time in basketball.That begs the question: why are they being so harsh on hockey? The answer is money.Hockey has such a loud, proud niche audience. It’s not televised in the same way as basketball and football because it’s not as popular on a national scale. The NCAA won’t tarnish sports in-season the way the potential loss of Newton could have. Newton was superman. He had an inspiring background and a magic ability to make things happen on the field. To suddenly render him ineligible would have upset fans as if he was the next Tiger Woods.This is certainly a hypothetical situation, but the fact remains that hockey seems like a pest to the NCAA more than anything else. Major tournaments are played in sub-par arenas – especially on the women’s side – and the national title tournament is often dominated by the same handful of teams that the NCAA seemingly could really care less which hockey powerhouse wins it year in and year out.Kerdiles has found himself in a tough situation, but unfortunately for him, he’s guilty until proven innocent.Kelly is a senior majoring in journalism and un peu de Fran?ais. Think the NCAA is being unfair or for once sticking to its guns? Let her know at kerickson@badgerherald.com or on Twitter @kellymerickson.last_img