Here's a heartwarming story for the holiday season about a college hockey coach who did the right thing, a player who did nothing wrong, and the insipid bureaucracy that suspended them both, apparently just for the hell of it.
Last year, someone broke into the locker room at the CenturyLink Center, home to the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, and stole a nice watch player Jaycob Megna's father had given him as a present. What happened next, well:
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.
"That was the wrong answer," Alberts said. "We could've reimbursed him through the NCAA if we had just filled out a few forms."
With the guy whose job it was to interpret the rules correctly having done so incorrectly, coach Dean Blais eventually just gave Megna $400 to cover the cost of a new watch, apparently rightly figuring that it wasn't the player's fault that someone had failed to secure the locker room.
Impermissible benefit, he realized a few months later when reading some boring bulletin on compliance. He turned himself in to the NCAA, and, naturally enough, with a form 27b-stroke-six not having been filled out, it was time for the law to be laid down: a three game suspension for Megna, and a one game suspension—later bumped up to three, given the impossibility of justifying why he should do less time than his player—for Blais, who seems like a pretty cool guy. Probably they're lucky they didn't get the death penalty.