September 14, 2001

Coaches, athletes react to administration's decision to cancel sporting events

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After almost two days of deliberation, it appears that the administration’s decision to suspend athletic competition through Sunday has been met with unanimous support among the Cornell athletic community.

The verdict meant that the women’s soccer team would not be making its scheduled trip to the Hawaii Invitational this weekend. That outcome brought about no resistance from the players.

Junior Caitlin Ramsey suggested that plans to travel by air to Hawaii would have been a logistical nightmare.

“With teams traveling and airports being closed, it could definitely be a problem,” Ramsey explained.

The defender said that the team still had lingering anxieties about taking to the air in wake of Tuesday’s tragedy.

“Most of the team was in support of the decision. Everyone was still a little nervous,” the junior stated.

Although many universities and professional leagues began making alterations to their schedules as early as Tuesday, Cornell’s conclusion was not reached until yesterday morning.

The delay didn’t seem to be a source of concern for those affected by the decision.

Classmate and teammate Erica Olson exemplified such sentiments.

“Cornell made the right decision. It doesn’t matter when they did it. It is just the fact that they did do it,” she reasoned.

Olson is also a resolute supporter of the administration’s decision. She cited the needed for members of the community to take time to consider what happened earlier in the week.

“This whole country needs time to reflect on what happened. Indirectly, everyone knows someone who was affected. Spirits on the field during practice were definitely lower than usual,” she said.

Coaches also seemed content with the universities decision.

“I like the fact that it’s an independent decision as opposed to being a dictatorial thing coming from the NCAA or the conference. I’m confident that it was not a decision reached cavalierly,” women’s cross-country head coach Lou Duesing opined.

Duesing said that he would have understood if the verdict went the other way but affirmed the players’ feelings that Cornell acted in an appropriate time frame.

“I never thought people were dragging their feet [on this decision],” Duesing offered.

Colleague and men’s soccer head coach Bryan Scales suggested that after evaluating the circumstances, the decision became somewhat inevitable.

“The more you realize the scope and the gravity [of the tragedy], nobody would have been too excited to be on the field,” the coach argued.

Senior Halle Watson of the women’s cross country team said she respected the university’s position but felt it was important to focus on remembering the horrors while moving forward.

“I’m really disappointed [about not being able to compete]. But I understand why they did it,” she said. “We want to keep the schedule as normal as possible. We just need to focus on the task at hand. We need to go on.”

While the rest of campus is coping through the tragedy through vigils and support groups, the athletes have their own form of therapy: practices.

“[At Tuesday’s practice] we got together and talked for a while,” said the women’s soccer team’s Sarah Olsen. “It’s our time to get away from everything else.”


Archived article by Gary Schueller