U of L to install FieldTurf

FieldTurf, a synthetic surface that is in place within nearly 400 facilities worldwide, will be installed in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in time for the University of Louisville's 2003 football season.

FieldTurf, a synthetic surface that is in place within nearly 400 facilities worldwide, will be installed in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in time for the University of Louisville's 2003 football season. The process of removing the current SportGrass surface will begin on Monday (June 23), two days after Drum Corp International stages its Summer Music Games with 12 marching units competing at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the stadium. After removing the SportGrass and preparing the surface, installation of the new surface will begin in mid-July and be completed by mid-August. The U of L Athletics Association Board of Directors had approved the purchase of an artificial surface on June 3 and FieldTurf was recently after reviewing other available products.

"FieldTurf provides us with the greatest flexibility for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.," said Tom Jurich, U of L's Director of Athletics. "The ability to host more events is very appealing to us, as is providing a more reliable, year-round surface that fits the team we will field."

"We've made speed an emphasis in our recruiting and FieldTurf will provide us with a consistent, fast surface to maximize our players' abilities," said Bobby Petrino, U of L's Head Football Coach. "With FieldTurf, we can also prepare on the field regardless of weather conditions. Right now, our field sits covered with a grow cloth for several months over the winter."

While Petrino was an assistant coach with the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, the surface caught his attention when the team played at the Seattle Seahawks' stadium. "I was really impressed with the surface then. It was unbelievable how nice it was. We wore our normal cleats with no slipping, no sliding, and it was a safe surface."

Among the benefits of the new surface is allowing for more events to be held in the stadium. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will be the site of the state football finals in 2003 and 2004 as well as a high school football tripleheader in August. With the new Field Turf artificial surface scheduled to be installed this summer, more opportunities for additional events in the facility have become available.

"This is exciting news for everyone at FieldTurf," said FieldTurf CEO John Gilman. "Papa John Stadium is one of the nicest and most modern stadiums in the south, and it only makes sense for the University of Louisville to also have the nicest, most modern and cutting edge artificial turf. FieldTurf has proven to be the turf of choice with the National Football League and many top NCAA Division I programs. As Cardinal football begins a new era under Coach (Bobby) Petrino, FieldTurf is thrilled to be a part of it. I think U of L fans will be very pleased with the look and the playability of the new FieldTurf when they experience it for the first time at Cardinal home games this fall."

U of L will join more than 20 universities that have FieldTurf in their stadiums, including Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Kansas State. Five NFL teams will play their 2003 home games on FieldTurf, including the Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks Stadium), Detroit Lions (Ford Field), New York Giants (Giants Stadium), New York Jets (Giants Stadium) and Atlanta Falcons (Georgia Dome). An additional 15 NFL teams practice on FieldTurf at their training complexes. MLB's Tampa Bay Devil Rays play their home games on FieldTurf at Tropicana Field. FieldTurf was also the first artificial surface ever approved by FIFA for World Cup play.

FieldTurf has about 400 installations worldwide in 20+ countries in the past four years. An especially recent flurry of activity comes on the heels of the NFL Players Association's recent league-wide survey in which the league's players resoundingly selected FieldTurf as their artificial surface of choice. In the survey of 1280 NFL players who were asked to rank the league's 32 stadium fields on a variety of factors, FieldTurf (at Seattle's Seahawks Stadium) ranked third, which marked the first time that an artificial surface had ever cracked the NFLPA's top ten. Amazingly, NFL players rated FieldTurf ahead of 20 of the league's 22 natural grass fields. The findings were announced this past January at an NFLPA press conference during Super Bowl week in San Diego.

FieldTurf is a synthetic surface that replicates the look, feel, texture and playability of natural grass, while also greatly reducing the number of injuries previously associated with artificial turf surfaces. Those factors, combined with FieldTurf's durability and resulting cost effectiveness, have made it "the choice" for the athletic fields and sports complexes for universities, professional teams and high schools.

FieldTurf has a patented mixture of sand and rubber infill that almost exactly replicates the soil in which the best natural grass fields are grown. The footing on this specially designed infill is just as it is on a natural grass field. Additionally, the use of only silica sand and cryogenic rubber enhances the vertical drainage of the system. The synthetic grass blades, which are surrounded by the infill, are made from soft polyethylene and polypropylene fibers that are designed to resist extreme weather and temperature conditions.

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