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Women’s Field Hockey Game Curtailed for Football Fireworks Display

September 12, 2019

The University of Maine filed a Title IX complaint with Kent State University administrators this week, after a women's field hockey game hosted on the Ohio campus was cut short in overtime for Kent State football fireworks.

The Division I match between Maine (ranked 24th in the NCAA) and Temple University was tied at 0-0, heading into a second overtime period, when the teams were told to leave the field by a Kent State official, The Washington Post reported. The field, which was used as a neutral site for the game, needed to be clear by 10:30 a.m. to accommodate a fireworks display before Kent State football's noon game against Kennesaw State University at the neighboring Dix Stadium.

The teams were told months in advance by Kent State officials that the game would need to end by 10:30 a.m. per fire marshal regulations, but Kent State did not have an adequate plan in place if the match needed extra time, Andy Whitcomb, president of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, wrote in a statement.

"While we are aware of the fact that Kent State officials offered to complete the game at 5:30 p.m. and pay hotel costs for the Temple team, we find their lack of preparedness and the timing of their response to be unacceptable," Whitcomb wrote. A 5:30 p.m. continuance would not have been feasible for both teams, the Post reported.

Maine coach Josette Babineau and the team's senior captain Riley Field addressed the incident in a press conference on Sept. 9, praising the field hockey players for their "strength and courage" following the game, which is officially recorded as a scrimmage, with no score.

Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft called the incident "simply unacceptable" in a Sept. 9 statement. "Fairness and equality are essential in the mission of college sports and I am disappointed for the student athletes at Maine and Temple whose competition was not deemed worthy to finish," he said.

Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen issued an apology, noting that the university had changed its procedures. "We let down the field hockey community and its supporters as a whole," he wrote. "We will take this opportunity to learn from our mistakes. I can assure you that we have already reviewed and altered our procedures to see that no student-athletes are faced with this situation in the future."


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