The new Big Ten hockey league may be stuck at six teams for a long time, as athletic directors from Purdue University and Indiana University shoot down talk of upgraded hockey teams from their universities any time soon.
The issues are many, say Purdue assistant athletic director Tom Schott and Indiana assistant athletic director J.D. Campbell. First, both schools lack adequate athletic facilities for Division I hockey; both field club teams that play in community and high-school arenas. Second, neither have money to upgrade their club programs, and a Terry Pegula — the man who donated $88 million to Penn State for a new arena, subsequently allowing for an upgrade of that school’s program — isn’t on the horizon. Finally, there are some gender-equity issues, though we suspect the ADs are being a little weaselly on this point: it would be easy enough to add women’s hockey to maintain gender parity.
Big Ten athletic directors with pucks programs unanimously voted to support the launch of a men’s Big Ten hockey conference in the 2013-2014 academic year. With Penn State raising its club hockey program to varsity status upon completion of a new $88-million arena, six Big Ten schools — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and the aforementioned Penn State — will have full hockey programs.
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