Men's soccer The NCAA rules allow a change of venue (see page 36). That said, not a strand of this decision is fair. That is why I cannot believe it will stand.
There are three reasons why this decision stinks of impropriety...
1) The field condition can be nothing more than a pretext to move the game to Northwestern. Why? Think about it. Was Northwestern was paying attention to the Ohio State/Akron delay? You have to believe the answer is "Yes." Would Northwestern's athletic department lobby to move the game to Chicago for the ever-present "concern for the safety of student-athletes"? A smart athletic director would.
2) There are other fields in the area. That makes the ruling particularly fishy. Akron's grass field might look like Heinz Field, but a high school field worked fine today. If the NCAA is worried about ticket revenue, St. V's field is less than a mile from Lee Jackson Field. It certainly should not deter anyone. Also, Lee Jackson Field has minimal seating anyhow. Even the financial reasons don't add up.
3) The NCAA cannot know conclusively that Lee Jackson Field will be unplayable by Sunday. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and above freezing. I understand that it is Thanksgiving, but the NCAA should put the ball in Akron's court. If Akron fixes the field on Thursday, it keeps the game. That is a compromise upon which all reasonable parties should agree.
If there is a bright side to this, it is that Akron is a fast team and would benefit from a better field. Also,
Caleb Porter certainly has his team more motivated than ever before. I would rather bet against Rocky than the Zips on Sunday. That said, Porter and
Mack Rhoades must exhaust every avenue to keeping the game in Northeast Ohio and preserving a home-field advantage.
I know a lot of you are angry. You should be.
D'Ann Keller is the men's soccer championship representative at the NCAA. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The representative for issues regarding the rules is
Teresa Smith (email@example.com). The phone number is (317) 917-6222.
I recommend being kind to these people. Consider if you were in their position. Whether you had a part in the decision or not, you would develop a disdain for Zips fans if you heard nothing but scathing remarks. Be logical and understanding. It will go further than a dozen f-bombs.