Field hockey to get the ax

By Todd McMahon

NIU Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell met with members of the field hockey program yesterday to inform them that he is recommending the program be dropped.

“We will meet with the Executive Committee of the Athletic Board to make a recommendation to them to discontinue field hockey as an intercollegiate sport at Northern at the end of this academic year,” O’Dell told The Northern Star last night.

O’Dell met with head coach Laurie Bell and her staff yesterday morning to discuss his intentions. Later on, the team was informed of its fate.

“It’s not an easy decision, and it’s tough to make.” O’Dell said.

O’Dell said he will submit the recommendation to the Executive Committee next Wednesday (April 8). On April 15, the official recommendation will be presented to NIU’s entire Athletic Board at its monthly meeting, O’Dell said.

O’Dell added that, “On the 8th and 15th, we will be prepared to make recommendations for a replacement women’s sports program.”

Women’s soccer is being rumored as the substitution for field hockey. “Soccer is definitely a viable option and one we think will be enthusiastically endorsed,” O’Dell said.

Just two years ago, men’s gymnastics was dropped at NIU and replaced by baseball.

“Both situations are very similar,” O’Dell said.

“I don’t think this comes as a surprise to many people on this campus, regionally, or nationally.”

Bell, head coach of NIU for six years, could not be reached for comment.