Over the past few years every Fresno State fan has realized that the Bulldogs football field does not last past November. More often than not the Bulldogs football team is forced to play in sloppy conditions for at least half of their home schedule. The Bulldogs football team shares it's home field with the women's soccer team for any Bulldog fan that did not know this (although I am quite sure most of you realize this already). The problem that arises here is that in a city like Fresno field turf may be the best surface for the Bulldogs football team to play on. The reason we have been given as to why the Bulldogs cannot install this turf is because the women's soccer team says they cannot play on field turf. They believe field turf would lead to various injuries and are not willing to at least entertain the idea of field turf to see if it would be a positive in the long run. Now understand that I am just as much an advocate of women's rights in sports as the next guy out there, but this situation irks me far more than just about anything going on at state (yes even more than the Q-Brown situation). The truth of the matter is the Fresno State women's soccer team needs to suck it up and allow the football program to install field turf for a better future with respect to playing conditions.
First and foremost what school officials must realize is the soccer team nets the university very little if any money at all. Yes the women's soccer team is generally strong. Yes the women's soccer team has made the NCAA tourney and tends to be one of the stronger members of the WAC. Yes women have many of the same rights as men when it comes to the NCAA sports world. However, the men's football team is the breadwinner as far as sporting events at Fresno State. What many athletes and fans tend to forget is other sports (such as women's soccer) would not exist if the Bulldogs football team did not put fans in the stands. To better understand this take a look at the 2006 football season. The Bulldogs were only able to attract twenty-five thousand or so fans per game for their final two home games. Because of this the Bulldogs athletic department stated that they lost over one hundred thousand dollars on the season due to the lack of fan interest in football. In other words if the football team does not perform then the athletic department does not see a surplus of money. If this is the case then why do we have an issue with field turf in the first place? Fresno State is at the point where they need to make a choice as to which sports they are going to go all in on. Football would be the easy choice as to the sport the university should back 100%. If Pat Hill wants field turf the university should do what it takes to get the turf installed.
Some have mentioned that field turf does not cool down in the same way that natural grass would. Many worry that if the Dogs played on field turf the field would remain hot for the entire game after the sun has gone down. However, it has been explained to me that the field turf would be installed with a colling system beneath it. If this is the case then not only would field turf be a positive for playing conditions but it would also allow the players to stand on turf that has a regulated temperature for the entire game. This would also allow the Dogs to play in an environment where the heat would not pose such a problem. What we have to realize here is the cost of something such as field turf is only going to increase as time passes. Right now is the opportune time to install field turf. Right now is the time to make a move such as this. The positives in this situation far outweigh the negatives as Fresno is not exactly the best place for a natural field surface in the winter. This is not Southern California where temperatures remain the same year round. Instead we live in an area where the temperatures reach one hundred plus degrees in the summer and drop below fifty at times in the winter. The only rationale answer to playing surface is field turf and if the university does not do this sooner than later they are only hurting the players and their opportunity to play on a solid surface year round.