Terry Pegula Speaks Out About Penn State Scandal's Impact On New Hockey Program

Terry Pegula donated $88 million to Penn State University, allowing them to create a new Division 1 hockey program. In the aftermath of the ongoing sex abuse scandal, Pegula spoke out about how it's impacting his gift to the school.

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Big Ten Hockey Conference Could Start In 2012-13

The addition of Penn State to the Division 1 NCAA hockey ranks in 2012-13 will dramatically alter the landscape of the sport at the collegiate level. On Monday, we learned that it'll be much more than just the addition of PSU that will change the game.

According to a press release from the Big Ten, the athletic directors at the six conference schools that sponsor ice hockey programs have made the recommendation to establish men's hockey as an official Big Ten sport in 2012-13. The NCAA requires that each conference must have at least six teams, so the addition of Penn State allows this action to take place. 

The recommendation includes the establishment of a Big Ten Hockey Tournament, complete with auto-bid to the NCAA tournament, and a full 20-game conference schedule, with each team playing a home and road game against each of the other five schools. 

The establishment of a Big Ten Hockey Conference will no doubt rock the entire collegiate hockey landscape, and the schools left in the CCHA and WCHA would certainly be impacted most. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State would leave the CCHA an eight team league, while Minnesota and Wisconsin would leave the WCHA a 10-team league. 

As American college hockey continues to grow into a legitimate alternative to the Canadian Major Junior ranks, the advent of a Big Ten conference will certainly help spread the message. Just think about the resources of the Big Ten, including the Big Ten Network, which according to them is available in 75 million households. It could dramatically raise the scope of collegiate hockey in the United States.

At the same time, it could also hurt some of the smaller schools left in the WCHA and CCHA. Sure, some of those schools will be able to assert themselves in place of those larger Big Ten schools, which could lead to a renaissance in some of the smaller programs.

But when you take out the largest schools in a conference -- as the five Big Ten schools currently are -- you leave schools like Western Michigan and Bowling Green without the big money those teams bring to the table.If you're weakening a ton of teams to form the Big Ten Hockey Conference, does it really result in a net gain for collegiate hockey on the whole?

We don't have the answer to that question just yet, but it looks as though we'll find out in just a few short years. 

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Penn State To Ice Division I Hockey Programs In 2012-13

The rumors are true. Penn State University will ice men's and women's hockey programs at the Division I level beginning in the 2012-13 season. The University announced their plans on Friday morning.

The dreams of many in the PSU athletic community, who have wanted to make this jump for years now, have been fulfilled by a very generous private donor. Terry Pegula and his wife Kim, who have made their fortune in the natural gas industry, have donated $88 million to the school for the construction of a new, 6,000 to 8,000 seat hockey arena on the State College, PA campus.

The construction is expected to be completed by December 2013. Here's a quick glimpse at the proposed floorplan, courtesy of the University.

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Click to enlarge.

Hockey is currently played at the club level, where the Penn State Icers have experienced moderate success in their history. As the team makes the jump to NCAA athletics, though, the question once again comes up: will the Big Ten create their own hockey conference?

Athletic Director Tim Curley admitted as much in a statement.

"We're very proud of the success that our ACHA club hockey program has achieved, and this gift will allow us to take the sport to a completely new level at Penn State," said Tim Curley, director of Penn State's Intercollegiate Athletics. "Thanks to the Pegulas, we will be able to enter NCAA competition in 2012-13. Penn State's launch of Division I hockey will lead to additional competition within the Big Ten, and that has the potential to transform college hockey in this country. Penn State also plans to launch a Division I women's ice hockey program."

For now, the Nittany Lions will first take the ice as an independent in 2012. It'll certainly be interesting to see where this goes from there.

For more, visit Western College Hockey Blog and Black Shoe Diaries.

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