October 11, 2012
No news on Nicolas Kerdiles' appeal of his one-year ban from the NCAA is not necessarily the worst news for the Wisconsin Badgers and the Anaheim Ducks second-round pick.
There were reports earlier this week that Kerdiles could jet off to the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets as early as Thursday if the matter wasn't rectified. (The NCAA seems to have borrowed a tack from the OHL by not saying what rules were actually broken.) Now it is Thursday, Kerdiles is not practising at Wisconsin due to headaches, and Badgers beat writer Andy Baggot is reporting the appeal will not be heard this week:
Wisconsin officials confirm NCAA will not hear Nic Kerdiles appeal this week. No specific timetable for when NCAA will act.
— Andy Baggot (@AndyBaggotWSJ) October 11, 2012
(Update: The appeal will be heard on Oct. 18.)
That delay might not hasten Kerdiles' departure, though. A draft pick who is suspended from playing college hockey won't necessarily bail for the CHL just for the sake of playing sooner. New Jersey Devils second-rounder Jon Merrill stayed on at Michigan after getting a 12-game team suspension last season, even though there was speculation he would jump to the Ontario League's Plymouth Whalers. (Odd Merrill's name came to mind today.)
This is obviously different since Kerdiles has been suspended by the NCAA. But Andy Johnson theorized the Badgers' light upcoming schedule might buy enough time to get the suspension reduced and allow Kerdiles to play enough games these season to continue developing.
The Badgers don't have any games scheduled after this weekend until October 26 at Minnesota-Duluth. That's a full three weeks after the initial NCAA ruling. It would be surprising if a decision wasn't reached by then.
Kelowna, who owns Kerdiles WHL rights has five games scheduled between now and the 26th, should this play out that long.
... A rumored Thursday deadline of Kerdiles leaving seems silly, given that would likely only give Kerdiles three extra games with Kelowna. With the WHL schedule having 50-plus games left after that, I'd be surprised if he didn't let this play out until a decision is reached by the NCAA.
If Kerdiles' suspension is reduced but not thrown out all together, the path the freshman would take is unclear. Wisconsin had 36 regular season games scheduled, but that number could end up as high as 46 if the Badgers were to make the national championship.
... If Kerdiles' suspension is cut in half (18 games), that would mean he would be eligible to play starting January 11th at Minnesota State.
Would Kerdiles consider sitting that first half, knowing that he would still be able to play upwards of 35 games (7 WJC, 18 regular season, 10 playoffs)? Badgers fans are certainly hoping so. (Bucky's 5th Quarter)
There is little that can be added here about the NCAA's heavy-handedness that others have not said already. The determining factor here is that the 18-year-old Kerdiles clearly wants to play college hockey. There should be no rush to throw that away if there is a chance he could appeal successfully and play for Wisconsin after the world junior.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.