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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 17, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsThe Tuck Rule

Winter causes chaos for spring sports teams

Welcome to spring in Ithaca, when sports are either forced to play through wind and snow or cancel and hope for better weather the next day.

This issue isn’t new and has been a recurring problem every spring. However, it doesn’t seem fair to anyone involved that the schedule is set up essentially the same way every year and nothing is done to change it.

Over just the past week, five teams were affected by the weather. A three-game weekend against Elmira turned into a two-game weekend for baseball, which also had to deal with delays and on-and-off snow. Softball had to take unexpected trips to Saratoga Springs and Troy, New York, to face off against what was originally supposed to be a weekend full of home doubleheaders against Skidmore College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

During one of the games for the women’s lacrosse team, the players had to warm up during part of the snowstorm before the delay was called. They then sat in the locker room in wet clothes before they were allowed back on the field two hours later to start the game.

The wind was so bad during the men’s lacrosse game against Nazareth College on April 4th that the light posts were visibly shaking. They continued to play on, although turnovers and sloppy play became the norm for the majority of the second half. The crew also had to deal with weather issues, as it hosted a quad meet April 8 and had to fight the strong wind during its races.

There’s absolutely nothing anybody can do about the weather, but maybe there’s something that can be done about the scheduling. Obviously, sports need to start in early spring and can’t wait until the end of April for the weather to warm up, but perhaps they should take a page out of track and field’s handbook. They have been routinely traveling down south for their spring races, as they competed in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the weekend.

In an ideal world, spring sports would be able to start later, but then that would either extend the season into the summer which for many sports, already happens or make the season shorter, which I’m sure athletes would not want to do. However, if all of the games are going to be postponed or canceled anyways, is there really any harm in playing a shorter season with all games starting on-time? It would save everyone the headache of sitting around locker rooms all afternoon waiting to see if play can start or resume.

Perhaps it’s time for someone to take a step back and reevaluate the way spring sports are set up to stop the constant cycle of game changes. Of course, weather will be weather, and this region is known for having rough springs, but either starting later or moving more games down south seem like logical solutions to save everyone the pain of dealing with delays and cancellations.

Danielle Allentuck can be reached at dallentuck@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @d_allentuck