Today’s earth-shattering question that does not involve the Manning Bowl, Cody Zeller or Boise State football centers on this fundamental issue:
Should hockey be in Indiana’s future?
Has somebody been drinking?
Glad you asked.
The short answer is no, hockey should not be in IU’s future. It has plenty to worry about with the 24 sports it has, let alone adding another. It doesn’t have an on-campus ice skating facility, and the Bloomington community ice rink is not suited for a major college team.
The long answer is that Penn State, courtesy of an $88 million gift from a really rich couple, is about to launch its own hockey program.
Nittany Lion hockey will have its own arena, next to the basketball facility, Jordan Center. The new arena will be a multi-purpose facility and have all sorts of bells and whistles. Both a men’s and a women’s teams will be established. It will give Penn State 31 overall sports.
Penn State, in case you don’t know, has had a club hockey team, the Icers, since 1971. It has won seven American Collegiate Hockey Association national titles. We’re not sure what that organization is, but we are sure winning it seven times is a big plus, at least big enough for somebody to donate $88 million.
Did you know that five Big Ten schools play Division I hockey in two different leagues because the Big Ten doesn’t do hockey.
Minnesota and Wisconsin compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. With six conference schools playing hockey, the Big Ten could begin its own hockey league.
Big Ten officials like the idea. They will consider adding a conference hockey championship. Conference rules allow for that kind of championship if there are at least six schools sponsoring a program.
So why don’t the Hoosiers make it an uneven seven Big Ten hockey programs? They do, after all, offer women’s sports in rowing, field hockey and water polo that have no counterparts at the Indiana high school level, or really anywhere in the state. One could suggest that women’s hockey would be a better fit than rowing, that it would draw fans and boost athletic diversity.
Are we suggesting that?
We’re still bruised from the email and phone call beatings by unhappy Alabama and Ohio State fans over our voting Boise State No. 1.
We’ll stick with no comment.