Robert Morris? More like Benedict Arnold

Hockey NCAA

The decision makers at Robert Morris University and the University President Chris Howard have joined the likes of Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler. No, they weren’t involved in brutally massacring millions of people. Not that I’m aware of anyways. However, what they did do is kill their D1 Men’s and Women’s college hockey programs, including all of the staff and players careers with it. In a surprise statement issued on May 26th, the University announced the cuts “as part of a series of strategic initiatives intended to position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary”. What an absolute steaming load of HORSESHIT.

As the Stanley cup playoffs have the hockey world’s full attention, people are getting to watch former college stars shine. Spencer Knight and Cole Caufield both came onto their respective teams and made an immediate impact. Here in Minnesota, we were all on #BoldyWatch, anxiously awaiting the youngster’s first time on the ice. Many of the men and women at RMU have had that dream taken away from them in an instant, without any warning, and for no real reason.

Nowhere to go for Robert Morris Hockey

Within the last few weeks, the transfer portal news is virtually nonexistent for college hockey. This is because almost all of the slots on D1 teams have been filled for next year. What does that mean? Well, there is essentially nowhere for these student athletes to go to. Even if they have all the talent in the world and years of eligibility left, they’ll be on the outside looking in. The RMU women had an outstanding year, going 16-7-1 and made it to the playoffs after winning the CHA tournament. To think that an entire team of these athletes won’t get to play anywhere next year through no fault of their own is legitimately criminal. Whoever decided to axe Robert Morris hockey needs to be tarred and feathered.

You’d think the story couldn’t get worse from an optics standpoint, but you’d be wrong. According to a press release, this decision was made at the RMU Board of Trustees annual retreat. Being an exceedingly average, almost middle-class person, I don’t have any insight to what one of these “retreats” is like. Based off of the school’s self-proclaimed importance and focus on tradition and history, I’d imagine it smells like moth balls and veiled racism. I can just see these wannabe politicians deciding to axe the programs between sips of Louis VIII while having someone else clean their monocles.

Bad Business

Listen, I understand that sometimes universities mismanage their finances run out of money to fund all of their sports programs. With the increased costs for travel, new facilities, etc. tough decisions have got to be made once in a while. This was not one of those times. All signs and press releases point to factors that do not include budget shortages. In fact, the same press release that announced the discontinuation of the programs included language that they were ahead of last year’s deposits and had surpassed it’s fundraising goal of $100 million. When announcing it on Twitter, the cowards didn’t even have the guts to say what they had done.

The players, coaches, and support staff were given no warning about the news or decision and left scrambling to figure out the details. Making and announcing the decision so abruptly and late in the year should have ramifications, but it won’t. As anything NCAA related, the universities can change the rules at any time and the athletes get screwed. This particular case was so bad that even Big Cat got involved. As a noted football guy and college basketball savant, taking a stand for hockey here speaks volumes.

What Now?

Although RMU was never a “powerhouse” in college hockey, they were certainly competitive and played at a high level. It goes without saying, losing a team like this is bad for the sport. Throughout the season, I’ve written about the state of college hockey a number of times. New teams are joining conferences like LIU this year and St. Thomas next year. At the same time, some are closing up shop like Alaska-Anchorage, Alabama-Huntsville (also on my naughty list), and now RMU. The WCHA is folding as most of the teams transition to the new CCHA, but not everyone has been included. College hockey is in limbo, spinning their tires without the notice they deserve. These athletes have proven they’re able to skate with the pros, but many universities are still turning a blind eye.

As is the case with anything these days, you can donate to save the program here. The more “noise” you can make online, the more questions the university will have to answer. Too many kids have had their college careers end due to Covid cancellations/restrictions. Lets not add to the number for some university to improve it’s optics as more “professionally focused”. You know who else has hockey? Harvard, Dartmouth and all the other Ivy League schools. You (Chris Howard and Morgan O’Brien) just want to remove something from your calendar.

As the State of Hockey, we have an inherent duty to do what we can to support the sport. Saving college hockey starts with saving Robert Morris Hockey.