Where I Stand


We have now reached what would have been mid-season for collegiate field hockey. High Schools have begun to play, collegiate players are playing pick up games in private turf fields and the NCAA has outlined a plan for a spring season for division one field hockey and an NCAA championship. We cannot forget there is one division one conference playing, the ACC, who has had two weekends under their belt without incident.

I also note that infection rates are significantly below one percent and in the Patriot League in particular the majority of reporting schools are showing infection rates below 1/4 of one percent. In the case of Bucknell for the last two weeks their have been no new cases of Covid 19. In the case of Lehigh, there has been a contact alarm ( with non athletes) that led the Mountain Hawks to suspend athletic practices already in progress. They are expected to resume by next week without any reported infections by athletes. Army and Navy of course continue to play all sports without incident!

Patriot League schools have reported executing from 150,000 ( Boston), to 27,000, (Bucknell), 7,000 ( Holy Cross and Lehigh), to 1400 (Lafayette) tests. Lafayette reports under 1/2 of one percent infections. No school that I can see has reported any fatalities.

The Patriot League president’s council has met several times under chair President Byerly without an announcement, even for basketball season. There has been one report from a competent reporter at CBS sports that the proposal on the table is to play basketball only within the League starting Jan 1, eliminating all non-conference games.

President Byerly has promised through multiple town halls and multiple zoom meetings to have definitive answers by Oct 20 regarding the second semester, presumably including sports.

Virtually every Conference has agreed with the NCAA plans for the spring which in include a spring season for field hockey. I assume Army, Navy, Lehigh, Bucknell, Boston and even Holy Cross are for spring sports. To me, that means a sure majority for spring season for fall sports. What does that mean for Lafayette?

Given the known infection rates and the inclination of our Patriot League cohort, I see great danger for Lafayette not to at least prepare for a spring season. It appears that the Ivy League will not have that spring season because they are not returning all four classes. Not the case for the Patriot League. Not returning all classes could expose a Lafayette inability or unwillingness to deal with the virus like the rest of Patriot League. Ivy envy in this case would not serve Lafayette’s interest for athletics or its general student population today and in the future.

If the Patriot League were to dictate no sports for the remainder of the year the League would certainly risk the loss of the service academies……a disaster by any measure.

So I come to the conclusion that the League and Lafayette should plan to open and allow practices, plans can always be changed but be prepared!!! As for our team, they are already practicing at Spooky Nook, the Proving Grounds, clubs in other cities, and European Clubs. Why we can’t bring our team back to live, learn and practice escapes me!

President Byerly Submits Resignation

As I was typing this I received an email that President Byerly has submitted her resignation effective at the end of her contract year, this coming June.

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 currently Chairman of that Board. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 30 year fan of Division one field hockey

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