Quinnipiac field hockey, rugby will not play in 2020


Jacob Resnick

Despite the announcement of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s decision to cancel fall sports amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, two Quinnipiac programs held out a small sliver of hope that their seasons would be able to get off the ground.

It turned out to be unfounded.

Quinnipiac field hockey, an associate member of the Big East Conference, and women’s rugby, part of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association found out this week that they will not play in 2020.

“While our league and program were prepared to make some hard decisions, the verdict we arrived at to cancel our 2020 NIRA Fall season did not come without genuine consideration and collaborative dialogue,” said Quinnipiac head coach Becky Carlson, who also serves as the NIRA’s tier one coach chair.

“Our most resounding theme in that dialogue was and will continue to be the importance of the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff. Rugby is the only full-contact sport for women in the NCAA, and as such, even some of the most drastic alternative options for contact failed to mitigate risk enough for our staff to justify competition this fall.”

Carlson’s program, which would have entered its tenth season this fall, finished 2-6 in 2019, marking its second consecutive sub-.500 campaign following three-straight NIRA championships.

While the decision to cancel the rugby season was made by the sport’s governing body, the move to prematurely end the Bobcats field hockey season was made independently by the university.

“In alignment with the University’s decision not to participate in fall athletic competitions, Quinnipiac has determined that it is appropriate to cancel the fall 2020 field hockey season with the safety and well-being of our student-athletes at the forefront of the decision,” the university’s athletic department said in a statement.

“The department and institution remain committed to providing all student-athletes with the opportunity to pursue their academic and athletic goals while maintaining an environment that is safe and nurturing for all.”

“The announcement of no competitions this fall will not change the focus of our training and core principles of our 20 athletes, four captains and staff members,” head coach Becca Main said.

“We have been resilient and will continue to forge ahead as shining examples of a Division I field hockey program being dealt an uncharted challenge.”

Main’s squad finished 5-13 in 2019. The rest of the Big East field hockey members will continue as scheduled, with only in-conference games taking place.