Kent State President Todd Diacon has initiated an investigation into why the university’s athletic department halted a women’s field hockey match last Saturday prior to the start of the Golden Flashes’ football game against Kennesaw State.
In an email to those Diacon described as the “Kent State University Community,” he said ending the match between Maine and Temple “does not align with our core values or our commitment to students.”
The game on Saturday was halted before the start of a second overtime period of a scoreless match by Kent State officials, citing orders from the fire marshal to end the match by 10:30 a.m.
Fireworks for Kent State football games are set off near the school’s field hockey facility, which is located just north of the football stadium.
Kent State officials refused to comment on the decision over the weekend, but Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen issued a statement on Monday, apologizing to the participating schools.
By then, however, KSU was blasted on social media and by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Word of the decision to stop Saturday’s contest was eventually picked up by several national media outlets, including ESPN.
“It was a regrettable decision, and I am truly sorry about it,” Diacon wrote in his Thursday email. “Ending the field hockey match prematurely — frustrating the dedicated student-athletes who were playing to win — does not align with our core values or our commitment to students.
“All week, I have been thinking of the visiting student-athletes who spent countless hours practicing and preparing for a tournament on our campus, and of the parents who traveled here to show their support.
“We can, and must, do better.”
Diacon said the university’s Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action will lead the investigation.
“The canceling of the field hockey match between these two teams does not reflect who we are as a university or as a welcoming community,” wrote Diacon. “Prioritizing a swift investigation and implementing its recommendations allows us to recalibrate our actions to once again reflect our highest ideals.”