Monday, February 28, 2005

U.Maine, where NCAA Rules Go To Die

Life is funny sometimes, even for those of us in the upper levels of society. Just when it appeared that America's Team had hit rock bottom by losing to UMass-Lowell (sorry Riverhawk fans, losing to UML is like losing to Stevie Wonder in a game of tag), your favorite college hockey team rebounded by smacking New Hampshire in Durham, NH.

Though our annual trip to the New Hamsphire seacoast region (also known as the "Redneck Riviera") usually ends in disaster, this time Boston College beat UNH so badly, even the gerbils in UNH fan's backpockets felt the pain. Before the engines in the hundreds of pick-up trucks parked at the Whittemore Center had cooled, America's Team raced out to a huge lead and cruised to an easy lopsided victory.

Now, with one team from the land that "evolution forgot" in their rearview mirror, Boston College welcomes the ultimate hockey hillbillies this weekend as Maine visits civilization this weekend for a pair. Before the double-wides and "dip cups" arrive, it's important that we, the people you wish you were, told you a quick lesson U. of Maine hockey.

Maine is an interesting program armed with arguably the most backward fans in all of college hockey. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts literally owned Maine up until 1820, Maine residents still dislike Massachusetts to this day for being left behind to pick potatoes while Massachusetts enjoyed the industrial revolution and social evolution.

Orono, Maine is the home of the state's University and is also known for its numerous UFO sightings, 17-year old grandmothers, and hundreds of violated farm animals reported annually (normally blamed on locals drinking anti-freeze). U. Maine hockey has also done its part to bring embarrassment to their homestate as well. Although Maine hockey started in 1977, its history really began when coach Shawn Walsh took over the program in 1984 and began winning the old-fashioned way, by cheating.

Armed with a lack of morality and a penchant for 24 year-old Canadians, Walsh quickly turned the Blackbears into a national power. NCAA rules be damned, it took less than ten years until Maine won its first National Title in 1993, and for the most part, has been a contender ever since.

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules...

Unfortunately, the legacy of Maine hockey and athletics in general is marred with several NCAA violations that would suggest they should be called the "Black marks", not the "Black Bears".

After Maine's historical season that saw them win 42 games and lose just once en route to the 1993 NCAA title, it didn't take long until the NCAA got wind of how U.Maine did its business. The very next season, it was found that Maine players Cal Ingraham and Jeff Tory played while academically ineligible and after an investigation, Maine had to forfeit 14 games and ended up getting credit for just 6 total wins. Since Maine, a true "no-collar institution", has the academic integrity of The Bauder College of Fashion, your superiors are at a loss to understand what one has to do to become academically ineligible from U. Maine.

Like a child who refused to learn its lesson, Maine was caught cheating once again in 1994 when it was discovered that several hockey players were receiving free food in the school cafeteria, a violation of NCAA rules. Your superiors have eaten on campus at U.Maine and truth be told, we wouldn't pay for that detritus, either. Though this would be minor compared to violations to come, it was clear that Shawn Walsh and his cast of crony assistants were finding new and exciting ways to cheat on a daily basis.

Shawn Walsh, Cheater

As the 1995-96 season got underway, less than a year after Walsh's Blackbears lost to Boink University in the 1995 NCAA final, Maine hockey was competely exposed for several rules violations. On December 12, 1995, it was announced that Maine's hockey program had violated 26 NCAA rules and was immediately banned from the 1996 Hockey East and NCAA Tournaments. Walsh was suspended for one entire year, while minions Grant Standbrook and Greg Cronin were banned from recruiting anywhere off-campus because of several recruiting violations. Without the luxury of recruiting 20-something mercenaries from Parts Unknown, Canada, Maine would take a hit on the ice as well.

Visitors To Maine are Quick To Learn its History

Fortunately for Maine hockey, the NCAA violations stopped after coach Walsh died in 2001. His last game behind the bench for the Blackbears was a loss to Boston College in the 2001 NCAA quarterfinals. In one of those "life imitates art" moments, it should be noted that Walsh was kicked out of his last game midway through third period after arguing with referees regarding a penalty call. Few Maine fans realized as he left the bench that night in shame, he had coached his last game.

Walsh's legacy of cheating may have ended, but Maine's athletics program continues to find itself fighting off NCAA rules violations, specifically with its football program. In October, 2002, a pair of football players were kicked off the team after being accused of sexual assault and in 2003, it was discovered that their football coaches never disclosed that one of their players was caught with anabolic steroids.

The bottom line? This is a lesson to those fellow collar-ups not to cheat or cut corners on your way to achieving true collar-up status. If you are caught like U. Maine was, you risk becoming a national punch-line and risk expulsion from any quality country club worthy of its name. Quality individuals can succeed through hard work or in the case of several of my colleagues, through inheritance.

Collar Up.

- DW


At 2:12 PM, Blogger Jeekers Cripe said...

With the NCAA Basketball playoffs starting soon. I would like to see more bashing of UCONN, UNC, Illinois etc. Just a request. Although I do enjoy the bashing of colleges north of the Massachusetts border.

At 12:26 AM, Blogger J Bartholomew said...

Manaaging time %%desc%% that forcus on goal and plan

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UNH owns BC, but this is hilarious. Thanks for the entertainment.


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