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Penn St. Set to Start D1 Hockey – Big Ten Hockey Conference Coming

Category: College Hockey Expansion & Realignment, Featured News, NCAA Division Upgrades, school news

It appears that Penn St. is set to upgrade it’s club hockey team to a full Division 1 program. It might not be the most groundbreaking news for college sports fans, but the implications are quite big. In sponsoring hockey, there will now be (6) Big Ten schools sponsoring hockey: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St., and now Penn St. The NCAA requires a conference to have (6) members and with Penn St., 6 is enough. If the Big Ten opts to launch a hockey league, they will immediately have another product to showcase on it’s Big Ten Network.

Previous plans to put the (5) hockey schools in a Big Ten sponsored conference were scrapped as many of the schools did not with the end their affiliations. That might no longer be the case with the NCAA playoff bid intact at 6 schools and the increased revenue through the Big Ten network.

And if the Big Ten sponsors hockey, the remaining conferences would find themselves in a tough spot with membership losses.

Michigan, Michigan St., and Ohio St. are all in the CCHA, so their departure would leave the conference at 8 members. Minnesota and Wisconsin are in the WCHA, currently a 12 member conference.

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  • If this happens, then Michigan Tech could go to the CCHA, which is a better fit for them geographically. That would leave each conference with 9 members and they could even have a scheduling arrangement where the "odd team out" from the CCHA plays the "odd team out" from the WCHA.

  • This makes too much sense for the Big Ten; keep your own money, and improve the chance of an automatic berth to 1 in 6 from 1 in 10 or 1 in 12.

  • There aren't a lot of existing conferences that could even put together a roster of 6 schools. Ivy League does but hasn't gone that orute. Big East only has 3 schools play hockey. AE has 4 schools.

  • I think that the Big Ten could be the only BCS conference that could ever sponsor hockey. I wonder if other non-BCS schools could join this conference for hockey only.


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