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Open Question: MAC Hockey

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Should the MAC drop the requirement of some non revenue sports so as to allow some of the teams to bring up hockey?

For anyone out there who does not follow college hockey here is how it works:

There are five Division I college hockey conferences (Hockey East, WCHA, CCHA, ECAC, and AHA). For the most part these are single sport conferences, they play only hockey and their members are generally a part of some other conference.

Recently Penn State announced it was going to start up their division one hockey program. They are the sixth Big Ten school to bring in hockey they other five (MSU, MU, OSU, Minnesota, Wisconsin) are divided up between the CCHA, and the WCHA.

This division has kept any one conference from being the marquee conference, until now. The Big 10 is launching college hockey which is a game change throughout the sport.

The remnants of CCHA are Alaska Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Miami, Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Lake Superior, and Northern Michigan.

Notice the three MAC teams there? Two of those schools just played for the CCHA Title (Miami and Western Michigan) and both of those teams advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Other MAC teams have a history of Hockey and an active ACHA program but no NCAA program due to title nine. Buffalo, Ohio, and Kent, all maintain decent ACHA programs. If the Big 10 continues its habit of not allowing affiliate members and if one or two of these MAC teams would pick up hockey you are looking at five MAC members and a decent shot at some affiliates.

How would this work for UB?

The Amherst Ice center is currently used by UB's ACHA men's team (non scholarship). The largest rink seats eighteen hundred people which, if sold out, would be higher than a third of current programs. The rink, whose parking lot is about 500 feet from Campus, would cost about eleven thousand dollars a year for 20 home games (yes I called them to ask).

Division one hockey teams are allowed 18 scholarships by the NCAA, about two hundred thousand in scholarships at UB if Dorms, food, and fees are included). A head coach can run you about three hundred thousand, and three assistants match that. That's 600 grand for coaches, two hundred grand for scholarships, and 11K per year for the rink. Throw in equipment and you're probably at nearly one million a year which is not obscene as far as NCAA teams go. UB would not make this back on ticket sales, but no sport at the university, and few at any university, actually make money.

Why could this not work:

UB is nowhere near having the money to adopt two more sports (title nine). Despite the fact UB offers more sports than just about anyone in the conference I would assume Akron, Kent, and any other interested MAC Members are in the same position.

If the MAC dropped the requirement of baseball you would see several MAC schools drop the programs, NCAA baseball is dominated in the south and west where as Hockey is a north east sport. Those programs with real history could either keep an abbreviated MAC conference going (like Tennis) or find another league to be in (like UB Rowing, Miami Hockey).