Faced with an officiating error that favored them in the most important game of their season, the Framingham State women’s soccer team and Coach Tucker Reynolds decided that principles of fair play trumped postseason play. Battling conference rival Bridgewater State with a regular season title on the line, the Rams appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute. But the Framingham State players didn’t celebrate the goal – they had seen the ball slip in through the side of the net. The Rams told Coach Reynolds, who reported the mistake to the referees. After conferring, however, the officials ruled that the goal would stand. Since the powers-that-be wouldn’t fix the error, Reynolds and the Rams decided they would take matters onto their own feet. When play resumed, Framingham State allowed Bridgewater State to tie the game with an uncontested goal. That act of sportsmanship proved costly as the Rams lost the game – and their shot at the postseason – 3-2. The players’ disappointment at losing the game was acute, but their display of integrity earned them more respect than a postseason berth could. Amidst the praise accumulated in the following weeks, the Rams received letters of appreciation from the Bridgewater State players, coaches, and parents.
The Framingham State Women’s Soccer Team is the recipient of the NCAA’s Sportsmanship Award.