On Sunday, Lords soccer won its second-round National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament match in penalty kicks against the University of Chicago. Some time later, the official NCAA signs disappeared from the field.
Justin Newell, director of the Kenyon Athletic Center, said when he went down to Mavec Field on Wednesday to make sure that none of the signs had been disturbed by heavy winds, he discovered all eight signs had gone missing. After contacting Grounds Manager Steven Vaden to make sure the Maintenance Department had not moved any of the materials to avoid damage, Newell sent an email Wednesday notifying the campus of the situation. In that email, Newell stressed that his priority was recovering the signs in time for the NCAA tournament’s third-round matches taking place in Gambier this weekend.
“The NCAA does not replace the banners,” Newell wrote. “At this point we will accept them back without any repercussions. We ask only that you return them by tomorrow (Thursday) and assist us in placing the banners back up on the stadium.”
At the time of the theft, two banners were not in use.
Newell said that, though the missing banners will not delay Kenyon’s Friday game against Tufts University (Medford, Mass.), their absence will affect the event’s atmosphere.
“The game will go on,” Newell told the Collegian. “It’s not essential that the signage will be there. It’s more for the student-athlete experience.”
Should Kenyon be a future host site of NCAA tournament games, Newell said it will have to transfer any NCAA signage to a secure location in between competition weekends to prevent future thefts.
“It’s more work, it’s more cumbersome,” Newell said of the prospect of keeping the signage under lock and key.
Neither Vaden nor Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper could be reached for comment.