Harvard's varsity soccer team was put at a very serious disadvantage in the NCAA university division soccer playoffs when T. Fred Holloway, Cortland State soccer coach and chairman of the NCAA tournament selection committee for the New York district, ruled that Columbia must postpone its scheduled match with Brown today and instead play Hartwick this afternoon in the New York NCAA finals.
Holloway's decision will affect the Crimson in two ways. First, Harvard, having played three games in the last ten days, will face a Brown team next Tuesday that has had a seven day respite.
If the Crimson should succeed in defeating Brown, Harvard will play its fifth game in two weeks next Saturday against the winner of the Columbia-Hartwick game, a team which is coming off a complete week of rest.
The NCAA regulations state that the regional finals must be played on or before Tuesday, Nov. 24th, the exact date being determined by the athletic directors of the two participants. If the athletic directors fail to reach an agreement, the head of the district tournament committee will settle the dispute.
Hartwick asked to play Columbia today because the College is on a trimester system and the first term just ended this week. Hartwick athletic director James Konstanty argued that if the game was played today a number of students would remain on campus to attend, but if the game were put off until Tuesday, most students would leave.
Columbia athletic director Kenneth Germann asked for the NCAA game to be played Tuesday because of its previous commitment to an Ivy league game with Brown today.
Holloway ruled with Hartwick for two reasons. "If we waited until Tuesday," Holloway said, "Hartwick's athletic administration indicated that it would be without the student assistance it needed to run the game. Also, the NCAA depends on the returns of the gate and therefore it is in the tournament's best interests to attract a crowd today."
Harvard coach Bruce Munro said the decision would greatly affect the Crimson's chances in the playoffs. "Injuries are the key," he said. "We'll have only a few days to recuperate from bruises while the opposition will have a whole week."
Harvard assistant director of Athletics, Eric Cutler, contacted the NCAA national headquarters in Illinois yesterday and received assurances that Holloway had overstepped his powers in canceling a previously scheduled game when an open date was available. A written protest would have been accepted, but the Columbia team was already on a bus to Hartwick.
Holloway defended his decision by stating that participants in the NCAA playoffs had been previously warned not to schedule other events during the playoff period.
Baaron Pittenger, associate director of Harvard athletics, said that Harvard entered the dispute for two reasons. "We didn't want to see the league trampled on," he said, "And we felt we owed it to the players and ourselves to see that we weren't outmaneuvered."