New turf hinders club sport activities

As the weather gets warmer, some club sports look to move out of the  David V. Wise Center and onto the practice fields to prepare for their spring seasons. However, this year, upcoming construction of new athletic complexes have made it difficult for club teams to secure field space.

In an email sent on Feb. 26, by Bill Ross, the associate director of athletics and recreation services, updated club sports presidents on field availability.

Due to the construction of the new turf athletic fields beginning soon, Ross informed teams there will be “temporary issues with scheduling of field space this spring and possibly next fall (depending on delays).”

Ross also warned teams about scheduling games on the current fields. The current fields affected by the project include: the soccer practice field, the soccer game field and the current rugby and ultimate frisbee field. Following the completion of the project, the soccer practice field will become home to the field hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse and possibly men and women’s soccer teams.

“I cannot schedule any home contests on these three sites until I know more about the timeline of the construction,” wrote Ross.

Ross  cautioned club sports presidents that the only available playing surfaces are now the stadium turf field and the upper parking lot field. This makes things difficult for teams such as men’s rugby, who are barred from using the stadium turf field at this time, according to Nick Poling, ’19, the current men’s rugby club president.

“The rugby team is already hindered by Allegheny’s rules and restrictions regarding the turf and general field use. It seems at times that we, and other club sports, are put at a purposeful disadvantage by the school administration,” Poling said.

Poling believes the lack of available fields will make it more difficult for rugby to practice and play both conveniently and safely. In a sport where pads are not allowed and tackling is key, some players are concerned about the available facilities.

“As of right now, rugby has to practice on the upper fields of Robertson, which is used as a parking lot and has remnants of gravel covering parts of it,” Poling said.

Women’s rugby is facing similar issues with scheduling upcoming games. Current women’s player Zafirah Abdulrahoof  ’18 echoes the worries.

“We are already restricted so much because we have to coordinate with other club sports, and we don’t get the same recognition as varsity sports,” Abdulrahoof said.

As the athletic spaces that have traditionally been reserved for club teams with rather successful past seasons get renovated into fields geared towards varsity sports, it leaves some people wondering if increasingly restrictive policies on these new fields will push out club teams and leave them without a space to practice or play.

“A new turf construction is great, but it does not seem like it will change the difficult spot that rugby and the rest of the club sports are in, as it will be used for more varsity recognized sports,” Poling said.

Other student athletes are more hopeful for the end result of the construction, but believe it will cause problems for club teams during the upcoming season.

“It might help, but until construction is completed some teams may need to resort to canceling practices or confining themselves to the gym,” Abdulrahoof said.