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Please Stop Digging, Mr. Not A Hockey Guy

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Nathan Wells

Everyone's favorite bureaucrat Brad Traviolia, he of "I can't understand why people wouldn't get excited for Minnesota vs. Michigan State" ignominy, is back, this time penning an op-ed for USCHO.com on the Big Ten's proposal to take away a year of eligibility from 21-year-old freshmen.

*sigh* Couple things...

1. This is just shockingly, brazenly tone deaf. Reaction to the last story Traviolia did with USCHO was not even close to positive. Did he think his voice would actually help the cause of an already unpopular issue? It's another example of how far out of touch the Big Ten has been when it comes to college hockey.

2. He actually calls it a "modest proposal". Google "a modest proposal" and you're likely to get results in three categories:

a. A famous piece of satire by Johnathan Swift

b. About a million mostly unfunny attempts at emulating Swift's satire

c. A few dunderheads who've heard that phrase used before without understanding the context then repeat it because hey, it's sound smart, not understanding it now carries the opposite connotation of what they're going for.

97% chance Mr. Traviolia has used 'Netflix and chill' in a disturbingly wrong context at some point as well.

3. The first link in the 'Possibly Related'  linkset underneath Traviolia's op-ed is to an example of Column B from my above point from 2001 championing the idea of getting rid of the CCHA and old WCHA. College hockey in 2016 is literally living college hockey in 2001's stupidest possible idea.

4. There's no use in trying to sell this thing on its' merits. Don Lucia already admitted the reason behind this was just that he's looking out for his own program. The jig is up.

5. The arguments for the proposal still don't make sense. By giving certain players only three years of eligibility, it forces them to choose between finishing their fourth year of school or playing professional hockey. That's the exact opposite of giving players "more control over their academic and athletic careers". It's a terrible consequence to solve something that was never really a problem.

6. "A player becomes a 21-year-old freshman not because he was recruited at that age, but often because a school has locked him in with a verbal commitment while he was still in high school and then delayed his college enrollment by up to three years." The actual numbers? 70.5% of 21-year-old freshmen are committed less than a year. The number committed 2-3 years is 3.2%.

7. "Other sports don't have such a big age gap" College hockey fans still don't care about other sports. Tune in to the Big Ten Tournament to see this idea in practice.

8. People make fun of the Big Ten for the quality of hockey in their conference. The bottom three teams may be terrible, but they have a team solidly in the tournament and fighting for a #1 seed, and two other teams right on the bubble. Even a great year isn't going to look all that much better than this year. The hockey isn't the problem. The problem is that they're the conference that nobody wanted, and increasingly, the conference that doesn't even seem to care about the sport. For as much as the Big Ten prides itself on its' "brand," their brand is their biggest problem right now. Trying to sell people on their attempt at bullying the rest of the sport isn't helping.