Return to Bylaw Blog

UNO Hockey Coach, Player Suspended for Extra Benefit

Dick Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald:

Dean Blais and Jaycob Megna violated NCAA rules when the coach reimbursed the player $400 after Megna’s wristwatch was taken from the CenturyLink Center locker room in October 2012. They won’t be with UNO when it faces New Hampshire (Jan. 3-4) and Minnesota-Duluth (Jan. 10). The Mavs’ program won’t be subject to sanctions.

It appears however that everyone tried to do the right thing:

Megna never saw the watch again. The next week, compliance intern Sam Spomer asked his director, who has since left the department, if UNO could reimburse Megna. The NCAA has waivers for incidents like the watch theft. But UNO, which is going through a rigorous campus-wide transition to Division I, interpreted the rules incorrectly. The compliance director said no.

The reasoning was then miscommunicated to the hockey program. Megna eventually replaced the watch and was was reimbursed by Blais. Blais did not realize a violation has occurred until learning about the violation involving Alabama football student-athlete HaHa Clinton-Dix.

A three-game suspension in ice hockey looks like the standard 10% of a season for a violation. The fact that any suspension was imposed seems inappropriate, especially if such a suspension is essentially doubled. It appears the ultimate fault for this violation lies with the compliance office. Had the rule been interpreted correctly, the necessary paperwork would have been filed to allow Megna to be reimbursed. Perhaps a one-game suspension for the coach is in order for not following the (even incorrect) guidance of the compliance office. But six games total is excessive for an “extra benefit” that is not entirely the fault of either the coach or the student-athlete.

Gain Exposure. Get Recruited.

Find opportunities for athletic scholarships and get connected to college coaches.