Meetings begin in Florida

Coaches and athletic directors should have plenty to talk about at their national and league meetings this week in Marco Island, Fla.

Here are six topics (three at NCHC level, three at national level) that should be discussed:

1. NCHC MEETINGS: The exclusivity clause in the CBS Sports contract

CBS Sports is a good network for college hockey because its broadcasters are so good and so well prepared. It makes for good shows. But the exclusivity clause makes absolutely no sense and is damaging to the league. Without it, the league could triple the number of games it has on TV each season through Fox College Sports and possibly even the ESPN networks.

I don’t think the clause even makes sense for CBS. What other major sport does that? I can’t think of any network that blocks games from national TV that it has no intention to televise. If CBS continues to block national games, I can’t imagine the NCHC continuing its relationship with the network. I believe there are two years left on the deal. I’m not sure if there’s an out clause, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one. I know the league has one with the Target Center.

When this league was put together, we heard athletic directors talk all about exposure and moving the league forward in regards to television. There has only been one year — and there were bound to be growing pains — but if the league doesn’t address this issue, the athletic directors’ statements on that summer day in Colorado Springs back in 2011 ring hollow.

2. NCHC MEETINGS: The 24-game schedule

There has only been one season with the new leagues, so the sample size is probably too small to make any determinations at this point. Even so, it’s probably worth having some discussions about the 24-game schedule.

The NCHC opted to go with 24 instead of 28 (which would mean every team plays everyone both home and away). The reason is that with the large number of traditional powerhouses in the NCHC, members felt that the larger nonconference schedule could lend to more teams getting in the NCAAs.

Year 1, it backfired. The NCHC was average in out-of-conference play. Three teams (two No. 4 seeds and one No. 3 seed) ended up in the NCAAs, but two of them didn’t make it until the very final day. Now, it could be an anomaly due to one bad year of nonconference play. Maybe next year the NCHC gets five teams in the NCAAs like it hoped when it decided to go with the 24-game schedule.

After the next couple of seasons, the league may have a clearer picture if the 24-game plan is doing any good. If it’s not, the league might as well go to 28 games and heat up the conference races a bit more.

3. NCHC MEETINGS: The playoff format

As discussed in a previous story, the league members will talk about the postseason playoff format of the league. The NCHC needs to worry about doomsday scenarios — one of which almost played out this season — that would hit the league hard financially.

I’m guessing members will also talk about the travel problems that occurred during the first round series. Several destinations in the NCHC aren’t the easiest to get to — especially on five days notice — so there were some interesting travel arrangements in the first round (Miami took a bus to St. Cloud).

4. NCAA MEETINGS: The tournament format

Ahh, the old regional debate. Should it be played at neutral sites, or as I like to say, “neutral” sites, or should it go back to campus sites?

I’ll have more on this in another story today or tomorrow, but this should be one of the hottest topics. The NCAA only awarded regionals for two years in December, knowing that the coaching body could make a change here.

It will be a very difficult issue to gain a consensus on, but expect a lot of chatter.

5. NCAA MEETINGS: The Pairwise

The Committee changed the formula for the Pairwise this season. I was at the Big Ten and NCHC media days when the coaches found out about the change, and they didn’t have much to say because they didn’t have time to study it yet.

Now, we’ve seen it in action. It didn’t end up changing a whole lot, but I do think there will be discussion on whether they like the new formula or if they want to tweak it yet again.

6. NCAA MEETINGS: Rules changes

Every two years, the NCAA has the ability to change rules. This is a rules change year.

Usually, we know there are a couple of rules that are going to be addressed because of controversies during the season, but this year, I can’t think of any that are slam dunks.

I think college hockey has done a strong job at staying at the front of the curve on several issues, including the hybrid icing, which was eventually adopted by the NHL. College hockey would have presented an opportunity to review the offsides call on the Colorado Avalanche’s game-tying goal Saturday night.

Even so, I guarantee that we’ll see some rules changes. It will be another month or two before we know what they are.

12 thoughts on “Meetings begin in Florida

  1. These are all great topics up for discussion. Regarding the CBS exclusivity, if that were to change, what avenues does UND have to get the MidcoSN broadcasts outside the region? As of right now, UND’s Fox College Sports contract is for non-hockey broadcasts only, right?

  2. Whatever TV contract UND or the NCHC goes with it must include HD.
    Tthe Midco DirecTV service of non-HD was awful to watch.

  3. Fox college sports picked up the home Sioux games and I watched them on Comcast in Colorado. Now that I have directv, I’ve heard of directv not having the game on fox college sports for some reason, at least that is how it was prior to this year. Some games they had one and others they did not. I’d say the best bet is to just get the UND insider and stream them. I did that this year and didnt think it was too bad. Plugged the HDMI cord right from my computer into the tv and had a good feed. And its probably less money than it would have been to get the entire sports pack each month on directv.

  4. From what I have heard from the conference, there is only one year left on the exclusivity. Josh has heard the complaints from Faison and UND fans and it’s looking like they won’t renew the exclusivity section while still going with CBSSN for a significant number of games.

    At that point, Midco would provide their HD feed to FCS (I fully expect the hockey portion of that contract to be picked up) however FCS only has one HD channel on a limited number of cable systems so it will still be an SD broadcast for a majority of out-of-state viewers.

  5. While living in Denver, it has been fairly frustrating only seeing the Sioux in Colorado once a year, and twice a year every other year. It would be nice to have the 28 game schedule so they would be playing CC and DU in Colorado for the alumni base. I was explaining to a few of my friends the “travel” agreements and it really doesn’t make much sense. I’m for the 28 game schedule out of greed :-)

    Also, we just purchased the UND Insider package and streamed the games. Worked well for us.

    • I hear ya. When I lived in Ft. Collins, we always wanted the Sioux to be out there two times a year.
      It also didnt help that directv only sometimes had their games on fox college sports, prior to this last year. We had comcast and all of our home games were on fcs. Was thinking of switching to directv while we still lived there, but there was too many times where the game wasnt being shown. The insider works pretty well, had that for this last season.

  6. As I watch another night of frenzied roaring crowds in the NHL playoffs, packed houses, spontaneous chanting and singing, I can only hope that the elders of college hockey see the wisdom of what a home ice playoff format for NCAA regionals would do for interest in the game and excitement.

    It works fabulously for the NHL. Let’s do it for the NCAA. Higher seeds get to host. One and done. Packed houses.

    And while we’re at it, please spread the games out so that the die hard fans can watch all the games. (Four Saturday Four Sunday in round 1. Four Sunday in round 2 (in between the Final Four games).

  7. ank you for direct and to the point synopsis of the asinine exclusively contact. It serves no purpose and is fact counter productive to the league and college hockey in general which is bad for everyone.

    the league should stay at 24 games and North Dakota and Minnesota need to come to an agreement where they play each other every year. It is what hundreds of thousands of fans want Period.and that’s all that matters Period.

  8. I agree with the 24-game schedule, with the idea of getting some non-conference in. We just need to make sure that we maximize our OOC opportunities, and I don’t necessarily meaning winning those games, but getting marquee opponents on the sked. I know we’ll be getting UW and UM (eventually), but I’d like to see more Big Ten and Hockey East teams, and may as well throw in some ECAC teams, so we know what it takes to win it all!

  9. Read an article about possible rules changes on USCHO, and one of the things that may get discussed was trying to cut down on players leaving their feet to block shots, so essentially laying down to block a shot, in an effort to create more offense. How stupid is that? Isnt the point of the game to get more goals than your opponent, thus trying to block the shot before it even reaches the net? What could they possibly do? 2 mins for shot blocking? That idea is about as ridiculous as a Todd Anderson officiated game…….

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