No Offense: The Fishy Death Of the Skatin’ Utes Stinks

One day soon, guns may be allowed on this campus, but we never have to worry about hockey threatening the safety of our students again.

That’s because this past Wednesday, U administrators decided that the club hockey team was too much of a liability to be kept afloat with the U’s support.

Administrators cited several rules violations which led them to suspend the Skatin’ Utes for at least two years, after which time they’ll be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the U’s campus recreation program.

I know several of the U’s administrators very well, and I wouldn’t question their judgement for a second on any decision that they make concerning the safety of the student body or the preservation of community standards.

But for a group of kids who simply want to play hockey because they love the game, and who have, since the U cut club team funding last season, never asked the U for a single penny for travel expenses, equipment purchases or promotion, the decision to cut the club team doesn’t make sense.

Administrators pointed to several rules violations including abusing travel rules, allowing a high school student to compete with the team and permitting a student to fly with a teammate who held a private pilot’s license as reasons why the club was dropped.

If those same folks knew about some of the things that went on at The Chronicle after the sun goes down, or if they spent even one evening with any number of groups who receive money from the U or through the Associated Students of the University of Utah, I think they might see the actions of the hockey club in a different light.

And really, are a bunch of kids who get together to play hockey any more a threat to the campus community than a Terra Firma-sponsored Earth Day event?

Sure, some rules were broken, and yeah, the team should probably be penalized for them. But a two-year suspension and being stripped of its “club” team designation? That’s like being guilty of jaywalking and finding yourself being sentenced to 35 years of hard labor at Sing Sing.

How many campus organizations that are lucky enough to receive funding or official U support have never broken a single rule? Why should they be expected not to?

I’m 22, and if somebody told me to live my life like Mother Teresa, they’d have a lot of explaining to do.

I’m really not a big fan of hockey and honestly would never have attended one of the club team’s games, but when the fish starts to stink, it’s hard for me not to ask where it’s coming from.

The Skatin’ Utes were on their way to the bigtime after striking a deal earlier this year with several other regional universities to form a Division-I club league, which was slated to begin next year.

Too bad the team’s biggest penalty was assessed before the first puck was even able to drop.

abenson@chronicle.utah.edu






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