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More on Montpetit

Now that Andy Baggot has given us a little more information on Brock Montpetit's de-commit, there's a few issues I wanted to discuss.

On the decision to back out of UW, Baggot wrote:
John Montpetit said the decision was "100 percent'' his son's. He acknowledged Brock was bothered by the fact he wasn't part of the current freshman class at UW and that the final scholarship offer was less than what was promised when the commitment was made.

"We were told it was a 100 percent full ride,'' John Montpetit said. "Now we're told they don't give out 100 percent rides, that they're 90 percent.''
This doesn't seem right to me. I've heard that pretty much every program short of the Air Force offers a maximum 90% scholarship. Maybe there was a mix-up in communication, but I have kind of a hard time believing Wisconsin dropped his percentage from 100% to 90%.

And really, does that sound like a huge deal-breaker? How much is 10% of in-state tuition at Wisconsin? The Univesity of Wisconsin estimates a year's worth of total expenses at UW-Madison is about $19,000, so we're talking about less than $2000 for a kid that spent two years at an elite prep school.

As far as not playing for Wisconsin this year, I could see that being a concern, but again, I'm fairly sure that when he committed, the commitment was for 2008 or 2009.(Someone can correct me here, since the original article on his commitment disappeared into internet ether, but I'm pretty sure that was the case) In any case, this is a pretty good lesson for all recruits out there. If a coach tells you that they want you either Year X or Year X + 1, you should probably count on starting in Year X + 1.

The bigger issue here, in my estimation, is that Montpetit committed to Wisconsin in June of 2006, and since that commitment, Wisconsin verbally committed to: Craig Smith, Derek Stepan, Jordy Murray, Travis Erstad(who has since decided to play D-III hockey), Tyler Barnes, Derek Lee, Tyler Lapic, Jefferson Dahl, Gavin Hartzog, Michael Mersch, Keegan Meuer, Cody Strang, Matt Paape, and Mark Zengerle. That's 14 other forwards--13 still committed, albeit spread out through 3-4 classes, but that's a lot of promises to a lot of players. You can only dress 12 forwards a night, and usually only 6 play on the powerplay. Make any argument you want about "earning playing time" but the fact is, once you start dividing things that many ways, players are going to get shuffled out. And who is to say that a year or two down the road, Wisconsin won't go after the next big prospect that comes their way?

Then, it's hard to imagine Montpetit finding a better situation than at Wisconsin. Most WCHA schools are likely going to be pretty full for next season. It's probably unlikely that Montpetit would find another 90% scholarship offer at another WCHA school--though again, I don't think the money was a huge issue. And it's not like there won't be a team full of talented players at any other WCHA school.

In any case, like I said last night, this is probably most damaging to Mike Eaves and Wisconsin. People have joked about the Weekly Wisconsin Commitments for a while, and it finally seems to be coming back to bite them. I often hear people say how verbal commitments are non-binding, and there are guarantees and yada yada, but this provides a good example of what can happen if teams don't honor. It should be noted that Wisconsin still sent Montpetit a Letter of Intent that he chose not to sign. But Wisconsin is going to get absolutely hammered in the recruiting world with the perception that they over-recruit and force players out of their program. It's a reputation that no team would risk gaining.