A misunderstanding or, at worst, a tone-deaf decision by the athletics department at Kent State University led another college to file a Title IX claim against them.
Now, the fallout from the decision has gotten worse when Kent State decided that it had not committed gender discrimination.
In our next post, we'll explain why the whole situation is getting overblown.
Kent State Kicks Field Hockey Game Off Field to Set Up Fireworks
The women's field hockey teams from the University of Maine, Kent State University, and Temple University gathered in Kent, Ohio, to square off against one another in early September.
The series began with a Friday game that saw Temple beat Kent State 3-0.
However, it was the Saturday game between Temple and Maine that drew national media attention.
With the score tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and the first overtime period, the teams were about to go into a second, 10-minute sudden-death period. If the game stayed tied, it would move to a penalty shootout.
Kent State officials, however, stepped in and stopped the game. It was 10:45 a.m. and the field had to be cleared for a 12 p.m. fireworks display before the Kent State home opening football game. Fire marshal regulations required a 90-minute setup period for fireworks, so the field hockey game had already run 15 minutes too long.
Both teams had been informed back in May that fire regulations required they be off the field by 10:30, though the Director of Athletics at the University of Maine pointed out that the written contract for the game made no mention of the requirement.
The incident attracted lots of attention on Twitter, and even Kent State alum criticized their former school for its decision to put a pre-game fireworks display for its football team ahead of a tight women's field hockey game.
The University of Maine, however, went further. They filed a Title IX claim against Kent State, alleging gender discrimination.
Kent Investigates Itself, Finds No Wrongdoing
As with all Title IX investigations, UMaine's Title IX claim was handled internally – by Kent State, itself.
That investigation proved to be a quick one, and culminated with the finding that surprised no one: Kent State decided that it had committed no wrongdoing or Title IX violation.
The outcome of the Title IX investigation reopened the old wound and subjected Kent State to another round of criticism. As Deadspin so accurately put it, “Kent State Investigates Kent State For Title IX Violations, Finds None.”
The University of Maine was especially critical of the fact that the summary report of Kent State's investigation did not include interviews with the field hockey athletes involved.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
While tone-deaf and harsh, the treatment that Kent State is getting for their decision to cancel the field hockey game is incredibly unfair for what it really is – a contract dispute over the use of its facilities by non-students.
In our next blog, we'll explain why.
Call Title IX defense lawyer Joseph D. Lento at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online if you are facing a Title IX claim.