Once again, SB Nation's Bucky's Fifth Quarter has done an excellent staying on top of the story involving Nic Kerdiles' one year suspension by the NCAA announced earlier today. You can follow their story stream on the incident here.
In their latest update, they've uncovered two photos that may form the basis for the NCAA's case against Kerdiles.
The first is a picture from Facebook showing Kerdiles at dinner with representatives from the Pulver Sports Agency, along with fellow Pulver clients Tyler Seguin and Alex Galchenyuk during last summer's NHL Combine. While certainly innocuous enough, the caption to the photo, posted by Alyonka Larionov describes it as a "Team Lunch," implying Kerdiles is officially part of that group. That said, while Alyonka Larionov is the daughter of Pulver Sports agent Igor Larionov, she's not herself an employee of Pulver Sports, so said promotion wouldn't necessarily be against NCAA rules. That said, the NCAA could require Kerdiles to prove that meal was not paid for by the agency, which would likely be difficult, though ultimately an incredibly minor thing.
The second photo, this time from Twitter, is potentially more damaging. It shows Kerdiles along with two other draft prospects holding BioSteel sports recovery drink, the drink created by Toronto-area hockey fitness guru Gary Roberts that has become extremely popular in NHL ranks. Theoretically, that tweet would seem to violate the NCAA's rules on athletes using their image to promote products.
I don't think the NCAA is correct in this instance, however. Keep in mind that I'm not a great legal mind, but I do at least know something about Twitter. The tweet in question is clearly directed as a reply towards @BioSteelSports. At least to me, there would seem to be a huge difference between Pulver Sports sending a message to BioSteel Sports--even if it could be seen by the general public--and Pulver Sports directing that tweet to the public at large. I don't think you can consider a conversation like that as promotion. Yes, this is the silliest discussion I've ever engaged in before.
In any case, John Infante, an expert on NCAA compliance for prospective student-athletes thinks that unless Kerdiles received some sort of compensation for the alleged "promotion" of the product, a one year suspension is incredibly excessive.