Recruiting is hard enough as it is. Especially in the Ivy League. But now Dartmouth has lost a prized recruit, late in the game, to one of the behemoth schools — Wisconsin.
Matt Lindblad “decommitted” from Dartmouth, and switched to the Badgers. Wisconsin has been hit hard by losses to the pros, and this fills a big need. But is it right? Of course, the online community is on fire over it. Most non-Badgers fans are enraged.
Still awaiting from comment from Dartmouth and/or Wisconsin. Ivy League schools typically can’t comment on players until they are enrolled in the school. And, the big problem is, they don’t give Letters of Intent. A LOI locks a player into a school — but the Ivies don’t use them. Had they used them, Lindblad wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere.
So the question is whether Wisconsin actively went after the player, or this was completely driven by Lindblad. It really seems seedy and unfair — but on the other hand, shouldn’t a player do whatever he wants to do? I don’t know. It’s a tough call. I think it depends on how vigorously Wisconsin was involved. I do think the player should’ve honored his commitment though.
Of course, this also happens to Wisconsin. They’ve lost players like Nate Hagemo and Patrick Wiercioch late in the game, when Minnesota and Denver, respectively, had holes they needed to fill. So turnabout is fair play. Although, the WCHA is supposed to have a gentlemen’s agreement (heh), and Dartmouth never did anything to anyone.
Meanwhile, the Badger fan blog, “60 Minutes,” says that a Princeton recruit may be in the process of doing the same thing.
Here’s Bruce Ciskie’s take:
Basically, Eaves took advantage of Dartmouth’s rules governing athletics, and its standing as an Ivy League school, to grab an important recruit for the 2010-11 class. He has to replace eight forwards off last year’s team, including Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion and top playmaker Derek Stepan, and Stepan’s loss wasn’t expected.
That left the coach in scramble mode, and he did something that’s been done to him by WCHA rivals twice.
In this observer’s opinion, it just isn’t right. If a player’s commitment didn’t matter, we wouldn’t have players committing. And if it didn’t matter, the WCHA wouldn’t operate under a gentleman’s agreement.
Not only that, but most fans hate this type of thing when it happens to them, and two wrongs don’t make a right.