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Archive for May 9, 2018

May 9, 2018 — The Third Law, under test again

The Third Law of Field Hockey holds that sports have distinct roles which, if violated, constitute an imbalance in the order; The roles are simple:

Players play. Coaches coach. Officials officiate. Spectators spectate. Administrators administer.

I’ve never liked it when players or parents meddle in the affairs of coaches, no matter what level. Beginning way back in the late 1990s when the lacrosse team at the University of Pennsylvania refused to play for their then-head coach, I’ve been critical of such actions. Mind you, if that strike had never happened, Karin Brower would never have been hired and would not have taken Penn to three Final Fours.

Indeed, when you have players making complaints to administrators at either a college or a secondary school, it provides an opportunity to get rid of a coach that they may not like. Just look at Gary Barta and his henchmen at the University of Iowa, who engineered the firings of head field hockey coach Tracey Greisbaum and women’s athletics administrator Jane Meyer. It was an action which resulted in money damages paid out by the university as compensation for an illegal firing.

The latest test of the Third Law is taking place at Lehigh University. It was announced earlier this week that outside investigators were being brought in to investigate allegations about the program, including head coach Caitlin (Williams) Dallmeyer, the former Duke and U.S. U-21 star.

The allegations were brought to the attention of Lehigh University president John Simon as well as the offices of the Patriot League, of which Lehigh Unversity is a member. According to the Allentown Morning Call, a four-year-old firm called The Pictor Group, run by a pair of former athletic administrators, is being brought in to conduct a review of the field hockey program.

The nature of the review and what is being investigated have not yet been disclosed, but if it’s anything like some of the other forced coach removals in the last few years — such as Louisville women’s lacrosse coach Kellie Young and Somers (N.Y.) field hockey coach Marq Mellor — it could very well be that a vocal minority winds up forcing out a coach or coaches.

That puts players in the position of supplanting their head coach.

And that’s wrong.

The thing is, with collegiate student-athletes aiming to unionize or leverage their collective being in order to effect changes, such as drawing a stipend or playing with guaranteed irrevocable scholarships, this trend is going to keep growing.

And that would be worse than wrong.