July 13, 2008

The Schoellkopf Field Facelift

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When students return to campus in the fall, they will see a new side of Schoellkopf Field. The current field surface of the 93-year-old stadium will be replaced with a more modern artificial field material, FieldTurf. The material is the same material that was recently installed at Hoy Field, home to Cornell’s baseball team. The FieldTurf will be ready prior to the football team’s home opener against Yale on Sept. 27.
“I am thrilled that our athletes will have a state-of-the-art practice and competitive surface like FieldTurf when activities begin in late August,” Athletic Director Andy Noel told cornellbigred.com. “I am indebted to our loyal alumni who stepped forward to provide a needed upgrade to our facility, ensuring a safe surface on which to compete.”
Cornell will become the fifth Ivy League school to use FieldTurf for its football stadium.
“The installation of the new FieldTurf will mean that Schoellkopf Field will have the most up-to-date, safest surface that is available today,” said head football coach Jim Knowles ’87. “This will benefit our current players immediately and also be an advantage for us in recruiting. The FieldTurf will also look sharp with a bright red ‘C’ and stunning red end zones. Everyone in the program is excited for this upgrade.”
FieldTurf is distinct because of its use of ground-up rubber dispersed throughout the field of fake grass. The material was first patented in 1982 and has become the most frequently used artificial turf today. Of the 31 National Football League stadiums, 11 have FieldTurf and 17 have natural grass.
Although widely considered to be the best artificial turf available, some, including the soccer community, have criticized the material. Players like David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy have complained that the surface does not have enough give and makes it harder to recover physically after a match.
Concerns have also been raised regarding the safety of the rubber granules as they have been found to release several irritants, carcinogens and toxins when heated beyond 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Other studies have concluded, however, that this is not a serious concern.
Either way, the introduction of FieldTurf will be a welcome sight for the football, sprint football and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. For the field hockey team, however, the new surface means the squad will be moving to its own field.
NCAA field hockey rules dictate that all championship collegiate field hockey games be played on artificial turf, not grass imitation turfs, such as FieldTurf. Thus, a new field hockey stadium is being constructed behind Bartels Hall for the squad.
The stadium, which will be ready for the 2008 season, will seat around 300 people and will include a permanent scoreboard, portable bleachers and a portable scorer’s table.