JU Cancels Unofficial Soccer Game

George Wahl II

Photo by Grace Singer

The Jacksonville University and University of Tampa Men’s Soccer game scheduled for Thursday, September 1, 2011 was canceled due to scheduling conflicts on the Jacksonville end.

The University of Tampa’s student run newspaper, The Minaret, attempted to take a deeper look into the situation. Research indicated that there were scheduling difficulties for JU, which had already been established.

UT Head Coach Adrian Bush was saddened and disappointed by the decision.

“If they would have had 18 games or a game the next day and they had to move it, I could understand,” said Bush “there was absolutely no reason for them to cancel this game. The only thing that is there is that it would effect their RPI (Ratings Percentage Index).”

The coaches and the athletic departments exchanged emails dating as far back as December 2010. It is understood that the two sides had set a tentative agreement for the respective soccer teams to partake in a match at the JU sports complex.

Two weeks before UT was to head to Jacksonville to take on the Dolphins, JU Head Coach Mike Johnson unfortunately had to withdraw the tentative agreement due to conflicts.

This cancellation put the UT team at 16 games, 2 games under the NCAA requirement for eligibility for the NCAA Tournament. To offset this lack of games, the UT staff scheduled 2 games for September 6th, both for the same time and ninety miles apart. This caused them to field split squads to attempt to even out their schedule.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, they dropped both games in OT starting the season 0-2.

Coach Johnson sent an email expressing his feelings and sincerest apologies to Coach Bush for any inconvenience JU’s cancellation may have cause their program.

“Due to scheduling conflicts that happened in the past week, we will not be able to play this season. I am sorry for the inconvenience that this causes for you guys,” the email read. “I hope you guys have a great year and wish you the best of luck”

There are always two sides to every story. While UT may be upset and feel like they got the short end of the stick, there was nothing that could have prevented the outcome. No wrongdoing was done. There was no game set in stone, the schedule at the time of cancellation was tentative.

Jacksonville University Associate Athletic Director of External Operations, Joel Lamp was quite familiar with the situation.

What Lamp and the rest of the JU Athletic Department staff gathered is that the two teams had discussed a potential match starting last year. That is as far as any of it went. They signed no contracts and the game was not on the JU schedule, posted by the end of June.

UT proclaimed that JU probably did not want to play them in case they were to lose to a Division II opponent. The truth of the matter is Division II games do not affect the RPI of the Dolphins, a Division I program.

To further back the Dolphins case, the lack of a signed contract was a major role in this outcome. All non-conference games require signed contracts. JU does not produce their schedule until all contracts are signed. Their schedule was released in June without a game against UT on it. No contract between the two was ever signed, hence, no game.

Once the teams get in full swing with their seasons, this will all be an after thought. The Dolphins (1-2-1) and the Spartans (0-4) have both started off slow but hope to have successful winning seasons, despite early difficulties and all this preseason drama.