An Ivy League Field Hockey Tournament

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Audrey Sawers shadows a Harvard midfielder

The ancient eight may be trying to live up to their name by denying, for the last 24 years, an opportunity for the only exclusive women’s team sport, a post season championship. Forget that mens and women’s lacrosse have a tournament. Overlook that  basketball has a tournament. There seems to be no logic for the absence of a field hockey tournament for the Ivy League.

Every other conference has an established league post season competition. The Patriot League has a four team competition with the best four teams in the League held at the site of the regular season champion. The winner at the end gets the auto-bid to the NCAA national tournament.

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Kristen Taylor gallops through the Columbia defense.

Recently a large majority of the Ivy coaches have been lobbying the League to include the Field Hockey programs in the post season. My information is that it is close to a unamious application by member schools. There are a variety of formats they could consider. The ACC includes everyone, and the Big Ten has a majority of the field hockey playing schools in the tournament for example..

There is a petition circulating, which at this moment has almost 1200 signatures from fans, coaches, alumni, former and current players, and parents. Tournaments can be the highlight of an experience that encompasses  a four year collegiate career. It could carry memories that last a lifetime as well as solidify a connection to the game.

Kyle DeSandes-Moyer, Penn ’13 and Head Coach of LIU writes, ” At Penn, I was given countless opportunities to play high level field hockey….but I also felt  cheated of an experience as a student athlete….As an alumna, I always want the team’s experience to be better than my own.”

It is astonishing that the Ivy League, that bastion of liberal education, is the last league to deny its female athletes what most athletes in the league and  other leagues have been experiencing for decades. I find little reason for rejecting it. Unlike basketball it would not be expensive to produce, has great support among its participants, and would be in line with the experience of other female student athletes. Only the most stubborn or selfish would reject this effort.

Anyone can sign this petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Ivy-league-field-hockey-tournament. The petition was started by  Penn alum Kyle DeSandes-Moyer. Help to grow the sport and support her in this campaign. It’s good for the Ivy League and more importantly it is even better for the sport!!

Published by

William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 20 year fan of Division one field hockey

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