Athletic director Nielsen apologizes for Kent State stopping field hockey game

Joel Nielsen is the athletic director of Kent State University.

Gina Butkovich

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association issued a statement condemning Kent State’s actions on Saturday, and Joel Nielsen released a statement of apology.  

On Saturday, Kent State stopped a NCAA Division 1 field hockey game between the University of Maine and Temple University that had just gone into double overtime in order to set off fireworks for the Kent State football game.

The game was then classified as an exhibition match, not affecting either teams record or standing. 

The NFHCA statement asks Kent State University to “do some soul searching and take responsibility for the lack of judgment and poor-decision making.” 

“The optics and the messaging to every field hockey program and to every field hockey player are that while they matter, they don’t matter more than pre-game football festivities,” the statement reads. “We see this as a terrible message being communicated to female student-athletes in this year of 2019. This decision was extremely damaging not only for the participating athletes, their coaches, and their families but for all female student-athletes.” 

Kent State’s Athletic Director Joel Nielsen released a statement apologizing to the University of Maine and Temple University on behalf of the Kent State University Athletic Department. 

“In hindsight, a different decision should have been made to ultimately ensure the game reached its conclusion. We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and in this situation, we failed,” the statement reads in part. 

“I realize that my statement does not undo the negative impact on the student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans who deserve to see their teams compete in a full contest. Also, we let down the field hockey community and its supporters as a whole.”

Gina Butkovich is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].