WCHA Discusses UNO Membership; Still On Hold
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
WCHA athletic directors and commissioner Bruce McLeod had a lengthy conference call Wednesday night to discuss the potential acceptance of Nebraska-Omaha into the league.
According to reports, the ADs convened to gauge interest in accepting Nebraska-Omaha. In a formal vote, eight of the 10 league members would need to approve.
According to 740AM's Dan Hammer in Grand Forks, N.D., nothing was resolved on the conference call, and McLeod has been asked to attempt to renegotiate some points with UNO.
Meanwhile, UNO athletic director Trev Alberts continued to insist that his program hasn't applied for membership in the WCHA, and is happy in the CCHA.
"There would only be a certain scenario under which we would even entertain the thought of leaving and going to a different league," Alberts told the Omaha World Herald. "Unless those very basic requirements would be contemplated, we have a home (in the CCHA)."
Reading between the lines of these statements, it becomes fairly clear what is happening.
The WCHA has a $120,000 entry fee. The last team that entered, Minnesota State, paid it over the course of three years, and didn't receive any postseason revenue during that time.
Alberts is assuredly being completely honest when he says Nebraska-Omaha hasn't applied for WCHA membership.
As has been well-documented, the WCHA wants to add Bemidji State, but is only willing to do so if there's a 12th team. McLeod has alrady stated that the ADs have given him permission to be aggressive in pursuing a 12th team.
So the WCHA went after UNO aggresively — and more than likely, that meant offering some concessions on the entrance requirements.
So UNO is in the driver's seat — and that's what Alberts is alluding to in his comments. The Mavericks would only consider switching if certain basic requirements were contemplated. This clearly means money. UNO doesn't need to do anything but sit back and wait for a great deal. If not, it stays in the CCHA — fine and dandy.
In other words, UNO might lean towards the WCHA in its heart of hearts, but the CCHA is fine too, and will stay if need be.
Meanwhile, there may be some WCHA ADs not willing to concede much of this to UNO, and thus the holdup. Especially since there's another perfectly viable option — which is Alaska-Fairbanks — and there may be many ADs that would prefer that anyway.