Monday, July 23, 2007

Field Turf for a Better Future?


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.

16 comments:

mdg said...

Originally, I hated the idea of field turf...come FS is an ag school, why can't they have a green field for the entire year? If Clovis HS can keep Lamonica looking good, why not Bulldog Stadium.

Now, I see the benefits of the field turf...the U can control the temperture of the field with the cooling system and avoid a brown looking field in November without the upkeep.

Women's soccer should be happy it has a chance to play on a superior surface in one of the best college stadiums in the West.

nsc said...

I didn't like the idea of field turf at first either but it seems to have grown on me. After I went to the game in Boise a few years back the first thing I thought was that we need turf like this. I mean if they can cool it then what is the holdup? Oh right the women's soccer team, how could I forget that.

MB said...

Could not agree more here. The technology is here and the time is right. They have the cooling systems and superior drainage, I see it as the best option for the University.

I do agree with MDG on the Ag School tag, the problem is there is not much any grounds crew can do with an overused, torn up, wet surface.

Many schools have made the switch and seem to be better for it. The injury claims are not founded as they more than likely have decreased by a large amount since the switch to the latest turf types.

The Nov/Dec terrible field condition issue is one I can remember back to my younger day attending games at Bulldog stadium. Id rather have an immaculate surface year round then an attractive natural surface for the first 3-4 home games and slop over the remainder.

Lastly, the initial cost will be high as everyone well knows, but the long term cost savings is extremely important especially as te athletic budget may continue to be an issue.

nsc said...

Taking care of field turf is not going to be as financially draining as natural grass seems to be. The slop they play on in November-December is much more apt to lead to injury than the new field turf that has been put out for the college football fields. The new turf is very similar to grass and gives the players the feel of natural grass. Yes players will still get hurt but if the opportunity is there and Hill can raise the money for it then why say no to such a positive advancement? It just makes no sense to me.

mdg said...

until women's soccer has its own facility...I wouldn't be surprised to see football have to bus over to Central HS to use their new stadium (w/field turf) to avoid wet weather field conditions in the near future.

The irony...why should the U's top athletic program have to bus across town, why not make women's soccer bus across town to play its home games at Ratcliff or any other HS stadium w/grass.

the above is a little tongue and cheek...I do think women's soccer deserves their own facility but why make the football program suffer in the meantime...suck it up and play on field turf for a few years!

nsc said...

Personally any field across the street from Fresno State with weeds and errant grass growing is a great spot for the soccer team to play if you ask me. I look at it as a team that makes the university no money and because of that they should have little say in what is put on the field. If they are the reason field turf is not being installed then the stadium should change soon.

FBallSmarts5 said...

Doesn't Central High have field turf? Well whatever grass they have it looked great during the all star game

mdg said...

yes Central Unified's stadium has field turf, as does Reedley HS, I believe

nsc said...

So we have high schools in the valley that have field turf but our university cannot do it? Am I the only one that sees that as a problem here?

James said...

Not a problem, just not the other side of the story. I like this blog, but think about this: if the only reason we don't install field turf is because of those evil soccer playing girls, Fresno State's dept. is much more incompetent than anyone already thinks. There could be more going on than a few girls.

Personally, I don't like running and shifting around on field turf. It's a durable surface, but not a very friendly one. God forbid you dive on it or slide across it for any reason. It's rug-burn city. Durability would be the only reason it could possibly be considered an upgrade.

nsc said...

That's true James but the new field turf is nothing like the old style and is actually very similar to grass. I realize that nothing is the same as grass but I think having the field turf would be a positive with the players that we have now. Players such as Miller, Wylie, Harding, and Mathews would all look like track athletes on the surface.

I do completely agree with you about the athletic department though, what a mess that is if the soccer team can stop the field from being installed.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a fan of natural surface but the athletic dept. budget may dictate otherwise. So field turf or natural, please get rid of the purina puppy chow checkered end zone and save more $$ by marking the numbers EVERY 10 YARDS.

SF State Gators said...

Yeah sorry I have to weigh in against the turf. I hate field turf. It kills athletes, blows out their legs, hurts their bodies, it radically shortens careers. I love watching a mud-bowl game, love the smell of the natural grass, love the way it changes colour. I think I would be disappointed if the 'dogs wound up with turf instead of grass.

Anonymous said...

Soccer is a great game. The women are great athletes, but soccer is not an American tradition; football is! The demands of women's soccer should be subordinate to those of football.

NoCodeBlue said...

I think some people are mistaking field turf for the old "astro turf" artificial surface. That was a terrible surface to play on, and did cause many injuries. The new generation of turf like "field turf" have actually shown to be a great surface to play on in addition to their durability. There have been enough football AND soccer games played on it throughout the country to prove that it does not cause more injuries as these less imformed fans would believe. I'm all for FSU and the new turf.

Anonymous said...

Look field turf is very nice and pretty, but grass yes,real grass is the way to go its safer and lets both sides skill really show whatever the weather rain,or heat and as far as up keep what makes you think they could keep up feild turf they can't afford to keep up the real lawn yet almost every other high school and college seem to keep up their feilds,thank god for the feild painters at least they are consistant in any weather,lets keep traditon guy's and girl's why change the checkers or the #'s we are known for that! across the country ,eleven years later you want to change go tell pen state,notre dame,usc, lets change our look ect.Look at our new bulldog costume there's change from gray,to brown with big teeth, NICE!GO DOGS!!!!!!!!!