Stopping UMaine field hockey game was dumb, but not as controversial as some think

By now you probably have heard about the strange ending to the University of Maine field hockey game last weekend at Kent State. It’s been a week and the outrage continues to grow. Many national media outlets have even picked up on the story. Go ahead, Google “field hockey game stopped for fireworks.” You get stuff from CNN, Bleacher Report and even People magazine.

While Kent State officials made a mistake, this is not the gender based crime of the century as some in the media would have you believe.

Let’s recap. The Black Bears were playing a morning game against Temple on the neutral field. The game was heading to a second overtime when Kent State officials stepped in and declared the game over.

UMaine quickly tweeted that their game had been called so Kent state football could kick off on time.

Bizarre right?

Look when I first started hearing about this story last Saturday I’ll admit I wasn’t immediately appalled. It was understood by both schools that the field hockey game needed to be over at 10:30 to allow Kent State to get ready for a noon time football kickoff.

The fact they they stopped a women’s sport to get ready for a men’s sport seems to have caused additional outrage. Lots of folks say it was disrespect for female athletes. A violation of Title IX. Maine should sue.

Oh my.

It was a poor decision by Kent State employees but it wasn’t a blatant case of gender discrimination. I’m pretty sure they would have made the same dumb decision if it were men’s soccer. They panicked. It happens.

Kent State officials saw two teams from distant schools playing in front of a couple dozen people when they knew nearly 20,000 people were coming for football in an hour or so.

Division one football is a business. At some schools it’s big business.

Kent State football is on the rise. This year they play big time schools like Arizona State, Auburn and Wisconsin. No two teams from other schools, no matter the sport, are not going mess that up. It’s just business. I get it.

So while much of the controversy is exaggerated about to being a women’s sport, theres plenty to be ticked off about as a Black Bear fan.

As Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.

First, the field hockey game was not even on the football field. They just needed the field hockey space to get the pre game fireworks display ready.

Not cool. Plus who does daytime fireworks?

Kent State officials have admitted their mistake. They have apologized. They know obviously they should have come up with a plan B, like moving the fireworks to the post game. Maine and Temple should have been allowed to play on and compete the contest.

Ironically Kent State won their football game in overtime so fireworks at the end would have been perfect.

But what might even bother the most is the game was called a “no contest” and stricken from the records. Never existed. If you go to UMaine’s website the matchup with Temple is gone. poof. Like Keyser Soze.

I don’t care what sport it is or if its men or women playing.

At the end of the day two D-1 teams filled with hard working athletes battled through regulation and a first overtime and the game never happened? Can’t it at least be a tie?

Ridiculous and embarrassing.

Maine is nationally ranked and every game is crucial when it comes to possible post season play. There has to be a better solution than to just erase it? That’s something to be outraged about.

www.sportschowdah.com

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.