Buddy calm down
There are 4 kids at Mount for free right now yes including the schooling all they are paying is travel which is about 2k.
15-30k is what a good player pays at that school.
4th liners are paying close to 62k if they need to billet but these guys are smart enough to get local kids to pay it so it’s around 50k
Keep in mind that there are very few top 20 teams that you can “buy” your way onto.
Mount is one, BK may be another but I’m not as aware of their “tryout” process.
If you have an average player and plenty of money, and need to be able to put on Facebook that your kid is on a top 20 team, then Mount has a spot for you on the 4th line. (That is how they fund the top players that actually are there for free.)
Of course there’s always next year and you’ll probably all of a sudden become a top player.
Honest, keep sending your money. It will happen. I promise.
We recently played the Mount 14s at Adelard. Mount had excess players pouring out of the back of the bench into the hallway, plus 2 more sitting in the stands in khakis (healthy scratches) tracking shots and faceoff wins. EP lists 23 kids total, including the 2 goalies. As you'd expect, they largely roll 9 FWDs and 5 defense. The rest of the roster is subsidizing tuition for the top kids.
If you look at other successful Academy models, i.e. SKS, you'll see similar numbers. At SKS, they're no longer USAH Nationals eligible and made the conscious choice to carry more than the 20-person roster limit. It's a financial calculation that enables deep discounts to top talent. The families paying full freight will either continue to do so or be replaced year-after-year.
I had contact with two academy programs for my son. First one, we contacted them, were quoted a price inline with what they advertised. They were tied to private school and the school cost was non-negotiable. You filed the typical FA forms with the school and that cost/payment was strictly handled by the school. The hockey cost was on top of that. He went to a tryout/practice/scrimmage and we were offered a reduced total price, they took some money off the hockey cost. It was still very expensive and I have no idea if it was a "deal" given to everybody or whether others would be getting even more of a discount. Ultimately, we declined due to cost.
The other academy contacted my son, was an online learning situation and like the brick and mortar, that cost was paid to the online schooling company. We were offered a cost that was about half of what they advertised but really weren't that interested and declined. We were then contacted again with a heavily discounted cost. But still declined due to the quality of the program and the online learning piece.
Based on my experience I doubt anyone is going anywhere totally for free because the education piece needs to be paid for and even in the case of the program with the actual school, they weren't the school's hockey team. However, I'm sure the hockey piece can be reduced to $0 if they have enough players paying to meet operational costs.