Illinois stops pursuit of D1 hockey program

#26      

Shane Walsh

aka "Captain Oblivious"
Cynthiana, Kentucky
I presume this sinks the entire Illinois Terminal project in downtown Champaign.
Looks like the MTD will still have federal grant money to expand and improve Illinois Terminal, but the Yards project as a whole and the ice rink portion especially will be scaled way back or shelved I would imagine.
 
#29      
Can’t help but think the lovie/fahey failures had some effect on this
 
#32      

Ransom Stoddard

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Johns Creek, GA
Is there enough of a market in general from Champaign for minor league hockey?
There was a team in Danville from 81 to 86, and then another in the FPHL from 2011 to 2020, and now one from the SPHL. Bloomington has had teams in the last 15 years, so....maybe? Or maybe the region's a bit saturated once Peoria, Indy, Chicago, Btown, Quad Cities, and the Lou are factored in.

Just a thought, really, and that was before I knew that Danville and Btown have had teams.
 
#34      
There was a team in Danville from 81 to 86, and then another in the FPHL from 2011 to 2020, and now one from the SPHL. Bloomington has had teams in the last 15 years, so....maybe? Or maybe the region's a bit saturated once Peoria, Indy, Chicago, Btown, Quad Cities, and the Lou are factored in.

Just a thought, really, and that was before I knew that Danville and Btown have had teams.

Yeah I think the market is too saturated as it is. Bloomington has had issues supporting ice hockey up there though their arena at least is being used for ISU's club hockey team.

Incidentally, the Peoria Rivermen just won the President's Cup, the SPHL title, a couple days ago. First league title Rivermen have won in any league since they won the Kelly Cup (ECHL) back in 2000.
 
#36      
Clearly not enough alums writing big enough checks. It's a very expensive sport to fund, so need a really huge donor or two or three who REALLY want varsity hockey to really make it happen. I believe it will happen someday in the future, though.

Shad Khan doesn't seem to have the appetite for hockey and Rocky Wirtz has enough issues going on with his family (who apparently absolutely loathe him) so he'd be a no go on providing any financial support.
 
#38      
Yeah this makes sense. Construction costs are up everywhere due to supply shortages and increased transportation costs (gas prices!!!). Don't know if this is why the decision was made but wouldn't be too surprised if it factored in.

Yep. Whitman listed the reasons in the press release:

Since we began our exploration of hockey years ago, meaningful landscape changes have pushed us to this unfortunate conclusion. We have stated repeatedly that we would not advance the hockey project without a sound funding and financial plan. To date, we have been unable to generate the financial support necessary to greenlight the project — a concern that grew even more daunting through the pandemic, when we saw cost projections for the new facility increase by 30%.

In addition, as has been well documented, college athletics is now existing in an incredibly fluid, dynamic environment, including Alston awards, NIL, and student-athlete employment rights. We are investing heavily in new benefits for student-athletes, which increases the marginal cost associated with any new sport offerings. Such intense disruption has created ambiguity about the future, and we believe it unwise for Illinois Athletics to expand our sport model in such an uncertain environment.
 
#39      
Has Whitman ever addressed how he planned to satisfy Title IX requirements if he added (men's) hockey? Was he looking to add women's hockey?
 
#40      
Has Whitman ever addressed how he planned to satisfy Title IX requirements if he added (men's) hockey? Was he looking to add women's hockey?
Was looking to add some other women's sport (possibly field hockey). Ice hockey too expensive.