My son was a 4.0 GPA in HS. Played at a Hockey Academy. Did not want to grind out juniors, picked UMASS Amherst for a school, plays club there. Education first, hockey second was his choice. I supported his decision 100%.
Northeast centric board so perceptions are different regarding D3 and ACHA D1. There are a lot of D3 options in the Northeast. Go out west (like the previously mentioned UNLV) and ACHA is more prevalent than D3 with more large state schools fielding programs that are funded and have coaches who recruit, etc. and it is treated like a "varsity" sport. The only reason these club teams are not elevated to varsity is politics (Title 9 implications).
How is it that every Big Ten school does not have a hockey program? The Big Ten is flush with money. Money is not the restrictive factor, it's politics. Take Iowa for example. Iowa has a brand new, shiny 7,000 seat arena sitting right there that a D1 program could move into tomorrow. Instead, the club team calls it home (and the club team is rising in the ACHA ranks). Iowa can' commit to a 3rd men's winter sport when wrestling already outdraws basketball and the additional Title 9 requirements of adding hockey. The way it is they have 200 girls on the rowing team (crew, in Iowa, yeah) to offset the title 9 requirements of the men's sports (football).
All legit points.
The issue I had was, the son was a very good h.s. player (with size & skating ability) and teams of the higher Junior leagues put the full court press on him to play. He did not have a real desire to play Jr. hockey regardless of where it led him and his interests in academics were very STEM focused. So locally what were his realistic choices?
Play Jr.s and maybe end-up at a liberal arts NESCAC school?
Play Jr.s and end-up playing D-1 and end-up a Communications Major due to the demands D-1 places on a player?
Go to the school of his choice with higher level STEM academics and play ACHA?
For him, high level hockey was a good ride but adulthood came calling. Two years of living in the basement, working odd jobs, even with offers of playing in a 'free to play league,' dating local randoms. . . not for him.