Kennesaw State Prepares Move to Division I
appears to be headed to the north Georgia hills, as Kennesaw State
University is expected to join the Division I ranks as a member
of College Hockey America starting with the 2006-07 season, sources
tell Inside College Hockey.
State At A Glance
Web site: www.KSUOwls.com
Affiliation: Moving from NCAA Division II
to Division I in 2005-06
ball is rolling 100 miles per hour,” Brian Laurens, a senator
in KSU’s student government, said about the varsity hockey
plans. “I don’t see how anything can stop the ball
interesting is that the Owls are slated to play many of their
games at Atlanta’s Philips Arena, home of the NHL’s
Thrashers, until an ice rink is built on campus. KSU would play
either before or after Thrashers games, thereby saving thousands
of dollars on building rentals while also gaining exposure among
fans of the pro team. Atlanta is roughly 30 minutes from campus.
excited about it,” Thrashers general manager Don Waddell
said. “It’s a win-win. There are a lot of alumni in
the Atlanta area that this will introduce hockey to. There’s
no conflict or competition with us or with our fans, so we’ll
do everything we can to help them.”
was a college star at Northern Michigan, said it will be tough
for KSU to have many Friday-Saturday series at Philips because
the Thrashers must share the weekend nights with the co-tenant
Atlanta Hawks. Also, college schedules usually are finalized before
NHL schedules, which could pose a problem. But Waddell said he
expects Kennesaw to be flexible and play at smaller, local rinks
when Philips doesn’t work out.
Kennesaw’s interest in varsity hockey surfaced months ago,
but the process seems to have picked up steam lately. Laurens
said KSU athletic director Dave Waples and a stable of university
vice presidents made a presentation to the student council July
14. Citing the advantages of national attention the program would
bring, the council unanimously passed a resolution supporting
Waples (who was on vacation and unreachable by INCH) told the
council at the time that the school had a week and a half to submit
plans to the CHA. League officials declined to comment.
still unclear is whether there are any other hurdles for the school
to pass. KSU reportedly has all of its hockey funding in place,
but some sources have indicated that the initiative needs approval
from the Georgia Board of Regents at its Aug. 2-3 meeting.
official in the Board of Regents’ media relations office
said the board doesn’t deal with athletics programs, and
he said nothing concerning the KSU hockey program is on the Aug.
vice presidents whom Laurens said were at last week’s student
council meeting either did not respond to messages or referred
inquiries to the vacationing Waples. But sources have told INCH
that an announcement by KSU is planned on or around Aug. 15.
The CHA has
been in the market for a new team since Air Force announced this
spring that it will jump to Atlantic Hockey starting in 2006-07.
The move will drop the CHA’s enrollment to five schools,
one short of the NCAA minimum for an automatic berth into the
its viability, the CHA announced an aggressive recruitment plan
in April, enticing schools to join by offering $50,000 during
each of the first three years of membership, a waiver of three
years of league dues ($45,000 total), a waiver of the league’s
initiation fee ($100,000) and an equal share of the windfall from
the 2007 Frozen Four, which the CHA is hosting in St. Louis.
apparently will take the league up on its offer, thus becoming
the second college hockey program south of the Mason-Dixon line
(along with CHA member Alabama-Huntsville). The Owls currently
have a club team that plays state rivals Georgia and Georgia Tech,
among other squads.
rumbles that Minot State in North Dakota is exploring Division
I hockey appear to be false. MSU athletic director Rick Hedberg
said such a move isn’t even on the school’s radar.