Da Costa’s Eligibility In Question

Freshman forward Stephane Da Costa has not made it through NCAA clearninghouse as of Tuesday afternoon.

Merrimack officials are currently awaiting word on his status, which is expected to come from the NCAA later this week. The Warriors open the season on Friday night in North Dakota, where they’ll take on the defending WCHA Champions.

Da Costa, who comes to Merrimack from Paris, France,  finished fourth in the USHL in scoring last season.


This would be a major blow for the Warriors. Watching some of his USHL games via tape last season and watching him scrimmage this past week, it’s safe to say he’d be one of the better offensive players on the team, and could be the Warriors’ No. 1 center.

Da Costa is brilliant with the puck.

If he’s ruled ineligible, I’d like to get an explanation from the NCAA on why. Purely my speculation, but I wonder if this has to do with transferring credits from his schooling he received in France and whether or not they have equivalents in the United States. I know that for a Division 1 athlete, the NCAA requires that a player has completed 16 core courses before he can be eligible, and one of the requirements is four years of English.

Now, I don’t remember this being a problem for UMass Lowell when Yorick Treille, Laurent Meunier and a few other Frenchmen played for the River Hawks in the late 1990’s, although admittedly, I’m not sure if the standards were different then either.

But before judgement is passed on my part, let’s wait until there is a ruling and if it’s denied, what reason the NCAA will give.


  1. Mike, I'm trying to remember what happened but I know Baptiste Amar, when he joined Lowell lost a couple of years of eligibility. Unfortunately, I can't remember why that happened … so I'm not sure if it even applies.

  2. Good to know. I obviously only knew that they played 🙂

    I am interested in hearing from the NCAA if it's ruled he isn't eligible. We'll see where this goes. Thanks for the note.


  3. The NCAA increased the required classes from 14 to 16 sometime in 2007. Students who had graduated prior or near to the increased requirement may not have had 16 classes therefore would be declared deficient. The NCAA later reviewed this and I believe they decided to accept 14 classes if you graduated prior to a certain date. The problem is that some of the classes not taken in the US are not recognized by the NCAA. The outside jurisdiction has to submit classes for approval and this process takes some time. Another bad part is that the student can not even take classes to make up the shortfall after the fact. I believe that a University or College can appeal or make an application to the Clearinghouse on the Student's behalf, showing that the shortfall is due to mitigating circumstances and therefore wants the student cleared. This may or may not be successful and can move up the chain but ultimately can still be denied. It shows that hockey programs need to be aware of the requirements early and ensure that players are aware what is required in terms of classes, essentially from Grade 9 (15 years old) onwards. This is difficult to do when you are not even allowed to approach a player at that stage in his education. Let's hope that the issues with respect to Da Costa can be resolved, and quickly.

  4. Chief,

    Word from the Merrimack radio crew is that Da Costa is on the trip with the team, eligibility status is unknown.

  5. DJ — Correct, we'll just have to see. It does sound like the administration is working all possible angles to get this resolved as quickly as possible, but they are at the mercy of the NCAA.

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