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Someone in the Minnesota Legislature has a bad idea, and it could affect all college sports, including hockey (primarily women’s).
Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, and Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, introduced legislation on March 2 that would ban state money from being used directly or indirectly for an athlete who is not a citizen of the United States.
“We just feel that if we’re going to give state using taxpayers money that we want the opportunity for students in the United States first,” said Dettmer.
Shouldn’t scholarships be awarded based on merit and not residency? After all, no one is stopping United States citizens from applying to attend any university they want, and no one is stopping them from getting all the financial aid they would need.
University of Minnesota system schools do not use state money to fund athletic scholarships. If this bill is passed, it would have more of an effect on St. Cloud State and Minnesota State. SCSU athletic director Morris Kurtz pretty much nailed the counterpoint to this bill.
“They are wonderful additions,” Kurtz said. “We welcome them, their backgrounds, their cultures and their differences, and we learn from them. So it would certainly disappointing not only from a student athlete standpoint, but just from a student point.”
It would also be disappointing from a fan standpoint. Paying customers generally don’t care where the players on their favorite college team hail from. It doesn’t matter if St. Cloud State’s star forward went to high school in St. Cloud, Duluth, Roseau, Madison, Boston, Los Angeles, or Helsinki. They just want to see their team win, and they want their university to be represented well.
It’s not surprising that these lawmakers hail from Gopher Country. Like the men’s team, the Gopher women’s team recruits primarily in Minnesota. Because the pool of talented high school girls hockey players in the state isn’t quite as deep as the boys yet, it’s necessary for all the Division I schools in the state to recruit outside the border. Minnesota-Duluth has been highly successful bringing in European players, and they have four NCAA championships to show for their global recruiting. That would be double Minnesota’s total titles.
I guess, if you can’t beat them, take away their players.