Akron, Ohio, is best known as the home of NBA star LeBron James, but they also take their soccer seriously in the Rubber City. The University of Akron's elimination from the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament following the decision of the NCAA to move its third-round game from Akron's Lee Jackson Field to Northwestern has the Zips' faithful steaming.
Steaming is the last word you'd have used to describe the conditions in Evanston, Ill., where the field was certainly playable but cold winds made for harsh conditions.
Akron coach Caleb Porter had "no excuses" for the 1-0 loss to Northwestern that ended the season for the No. 5 seed Zips.
Akron Beacon Journalsports columnist Patrick McManamon said the NCAA played weatherman and safety regulator for moving the game from Akron.
UA Athletic Director Mack Rhoades said he was ''incredibly disappointed in the way the NCAA handled this and the way this decision was made.''
Among the complaints UA folks have is that they felt they were not given a chance to get Lee Jackson Field ready for Sunday's game. Their second-round game against Ohio State was postponed a day and moved from Lee Jackson Field to the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School field in Akron. As an alternative, they would have liked to returned to St. Vincent-St. Mary on Sunday.
They cited in support of their case the decision to move North Carolina's game against UIC from Chapel Hill to nearby Cary because Fetzer Field was unplayable.
The NCAA's response: Lee Jackson Field could have been playable and the UNC-UIC case was different -- UIC was already in North Carolina.
Zips' fans all will cite one fact: the home team won all eight games in the third round. They feel deprived of a chance to play at home where Akron has only two losses in its last 47 games.