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HomeSportsUT
Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

FieldTurf ready by Rockets' opener

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The University of Toledo is installing FieldTurf at the Glass Bowl in time for the Rockets' home opener in September.

The surface, with a price tag of nearly $1 million, is used at hundreds of stadiums at all levels of play across the nation, including Bowling Green State University and Central Catholic and Whitmer high schools. The cost will be covered by the university's general financial reserves.

The Glass Bowl has had an artificial turf for more than 30 years. The most recent surface, NeXturf, was installed in 2001. All Mid-American Conference teams except Temple play their home games on artificial turf.

The NeXturf had a life expectancy of eight years but UT decided to make a move sooner. UT athletic director Mike O'Brien called FieldTurf "the popular turf."

"We're always looking at the safety of our student-athletes," O'Brien said. "We simply just didn't want to put it off for another year. The turf was getting older, and it was time to replace it."

The UT football team starts practice on Aug. 7 but holds its training camp on grass at Carter Field on campus. UT expects the process to be complete by the end of August, but had to cancel a few events at the stadium earlier in the month. The Rockets' first home game is Sept. 20, so the team should have some time to test the turf beforehand.

The installation isn't as simple as removing one turf and laying down a new one. The NeXturf was removed this week and workers will next touch up the drainage system and repair the asphalt in places.

UT deputy athletic director Mike Karabin said workers will then lay down a base of crushed stone and sand mixture several inches thick before installing the FieldTurf.

The Glass Bowl hosts several high school football games a year. With a brand-new surface, the athletic department would like to increase that number.

"I know some of the local schools like using it and we like having them," Karabin said.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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