New NCAA legislation may hurt recruiting for small schools

MARQUETTE — College hockey is one of the few sports where you can see big schools like Michigan and Wisconsin take on smaller schools like Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech. The level of competition in Division 1 hockey is at a high level but a piece of legislation in front of the NCAA may have a¬†negative impact on how teams can recruit, including the Wildcats.

According to, the Big Ten conference has sponsored a new proposal that will lower the age limit for incoming recruits from 21 years old to 20, effectively making it two years after a player’s expected year of high school graduation. Players that enroll after that age would lose one year of NCAA eligibility for each year. The proposal, which is set to be voted on in April, has caused many college hockey teams to voice their concerns, including Northern Michigan head coach Walt Kyle.

“What really this proposal is going to do is limit our number of players even greater…to a greater degree. And I think when you saw the vote, the straw vote was 49 to 11 against the proposal. So by and large, the great proportion of schools in college hockey don’t feel this is a fair proposal,” Kyle said.

Those critical of the proposal say it’s just another way Big Ten schools create imbalance between teams as the issue with bigger schools wanting more home games has caused problems as well. Also, it was pointed out that the legislation was not discussed with the majority of the college hockey teams before it was introduced to the NCAA. Kyle says, at the end of the day, legislation should promote competition, not limit it.

“College hockey has been unique and proud to have all these schools like Michigan Tech and Colorado College and Northern Michigan…Division 2 schools that can field great Division 1 programs and we need to keep those schools strong in our legislation, not do stuff to weaken those,” said Kyle.

For more information on the proposal, click here.