Kent State called off the end of a field hockey game Saturday to ensure it could set off fireworks before a football game against Kennesaw State began at 12 p.m. — prioritizing a simple gimmick over a non-revenue sports contest.
The University of Maine and Temple University’s field hockey teams played a non conference game at Kent State’s Murphy-Mellis Field, located next to Dix Stadium where the university’s football games are played.
Before the start of the second overtime, the game was declared a no contest, and there will be no record of the event on either teams’ record — naming no winner or loser.
The decision was made so Kent State could set off fireworks — yes, fireworks — from the Murphy-Mellis Field before the start of the football game, and players were all asked to clear the field immediately.
This call brings into question the ethics of Kent State’s athletics department. Does the university respect sports that aren’t bringing in loads of money?
Perhaps the circumstances of the game made it the easier call for administration — Kent State wasn’t playing and the game was tied 0-0 after regulation and one overtime period. But the institution’s priorities remain troubling.
While Kent State’s administration may have thought they could get away with this decision without repercussions, members of the competing field hockey teams brought the issue to social media where Kent State faced criticism for the decision.
today our neutral site game was cut short by the hosting school administration telling us that we had to end our game as a tie instead of going into our second OT... because they had a football game starting.......— Riley Field (@RileyField11) September 7, 2019
Kent State issued a statement on their field hockey team’s Twitter account, claiming they “recognize the hard work and dedication of all student-athletes.” If this were the case, then all the hard-working student athletes should be given a fair opportunity to finish each game.
Penn State Athletics is by no means perfect, but it would be hard to believe that the entity would cancel one sporting event in favor of another — never mind a fireworks display taking place in the middle of the day.
Based on its previous actions, it seems as though Penn State's athletic department works to value and respect each of its teams and student athletes, never pinning multiple sporting events against each other. The whole ‘One Team’ campaign started a few years ago is enough proof of that.
If anything, Penn State Athletics uses more major money-making events as opportunities to bring more attention to other sports teams — for example, selling women’s volleyball tickets for $5 if you have a football ticket.
Kent State’s decision to cancel the remainder of the game — all for a fireworks display — gives student athletes the impression that football takes precedence over other sports the university offers. They wasted time and money put into this game by both teams, each traveling hundreds of miles to play at Kent State.
And the fireworks show they got for their trouble was pretty underwhelming, too.