Fireworks over Females: Collegiate Women Athletes Still Fighting for Equal Treatment

A women's field hockey game at Kent State was canceled for football pregame fireworks.

Kent State officials sparked a social media uproar, with athletes, coaches, and others questioning why the university would prioritize a fireworks display instead of a Division I match.

Temple University and the No. 24 ranked University of Maine field hockey teams were enthralled in a scoreless match as the first overtime period ended Saturday, when a Kent State official called the game and asked everyone to leave the field.

"It’s hard to hold your shoulders up when you feel like you’ve just been brushed off or looked at as less than. I felt like a joke,” one player said. “It felt they didn’t recognize Division I women’s field hockey as [important]."

Players found out their game was over when a representative from the Ohio university announced over the sound system that the game had ended and the teams would resume the second overtime period at 5:30 p.m., almost seven hours later. Due to travel arrangements, Temple was unable to stay for the 7-hour postponement. 

Kent State responded to the event in a tweet, saying "We regret today’s game had to be stopped during overtime play per field guidelines" and that "the safety of our community, including student-athletes and visitors is always our first consideration."

Clearly the consideration of fair treatment was not up for discussion. 

"I think it's just where we're at with female sports," first-year Temple coach Susan Ciufo said. "As much as we have come a long way, there's still a long way to go. Saturday is the perfect example."

Ciufo continued, "To kick off two Division I teams when they're about to go into double overtime for fireworks is just, it's beyond me. I think it's a disgrace to both programs, the families and the schools. I wish there was some better decision-making throughout the process in recognizing what this could mean in the bigger picture moving forward."

This isn’t up for debate, female collegiate athletes need to be treated equally. Fireworks should not be prioritized over these young women.