New Playing Surface: Grass or Turf?

Submitted by mgoviking5 on September 18th, 2017 at 8:38 AM

During the Cincinnati broadcast, Brock Huard mentioned the poor quality of the field turf at the stadium and that it would be replaced after the season. My question is, what are the chances that the program transitions back to grass for the first time since 2002? Harbaugh's teams at San Diego, Stanford, and San Francisco all used natural grass, and while it's certainly more difficult to maintain such a surface in Ann Arbor, I think it is pretty clear that there are some injury benefits to playing on a natural surface. Personally, I'd love to see a well maintained natural grass surface, but I don't see it happening given the increase in outside events being held at the stadium.



September 18th, 2017 at 8:49 AM ^

i believe we could do something like MSU:

a concrete surface with drainage built in. then you sit modular grass trays on top. the sections can be swapped out if need be, and the space between the tray and concrete allows water to drain properly.

Bando Calrissian

September 18th, 2017 at 9:53 AM ^

They spent over a decade bringing in expert after expert, turf manager after turf manager, trying to make endless turf and drainage systems work at Michigan Stadium. They never did. Remember those crews they'd have to send onto the field to pick up the larger divots during stoppages of play?

With the lowered field post-91, it's virtually impossible to keep a high-standard natural surface. No need to keep trying for a miracle.


September 18th, 2017 at 9:59 AM ^

I do remember, but I thought MSU's field was installed AFTER all of that.  It was new at the time.  As someone else mentioned VaTech uses a similar drainage system.  It makes logical sense to me that if you put concrete and a good drainage system down underneath, you can have turf in trays above it.  you just need to ensure the water has a place go to in the concrete/drainage.


September 18th, 2017 at 11:14 AM ^

But if your field is below the water table, that "drainage" system doesn't drain without pumps - it fills with water instead.  If the pumps fail or are overwhelmed, then the turf trays get flooded and the turf gets ruined.  Michigan had a drainage system the last time they had grass, and that's why they went to artificial turf.

Mr. Yost

September 18th, 2017 at 10:58 AM ^

As it should be...however, it should've been installed 2 years ago. It's a joke they've waited this long to replace the playing surface.

This is where I agree with Brady Hoke. "THIS IS MICHIGAN...fergodsakes."

High schools have replaced their FieldTurf more frequently.


September 18th, 2017 at 11:24 AM ^

but some fiasco matching the correct base to the specific sod.

Sod A required Base A

Sod B required Base B

I think we started with Sod A and Base A but didnt' like it

For some reason we then canged to Sod B on Base A which was never going to work.

Instead of switching over fully to Base B for Sod B we decided to make a hybrid Base A-B to save money.

Nothing would grow well on hybrid Base A-B.

We gave up and went to Field Turf.




September 18th, 2017 at 8:46 AM ^

Grass vs turf injury likelihood isn't really about losing footing. Grass tears and gives if high lateral forces are applied to it. Turf is a weave of synthetic netting that doesn't give. In essence the footing is actually too good.


September 18th, 2017 at 9:44 AM ^

Zero doubt about it. I've torn my left ACL twice due to turf and I've witnessed a bunch more, it just isn't forgiving at all. That said, I believe there is new technology that is supposed to help with that and reduce concussions?

I would prefer Grass but it would be a mud pile come November/December


September 18th, 2017 at 11:34 AM ^

The old Astroturf was terrible on players' joints, but I'm not sure if Fieldturf presents similar issues.  In any event it's largely a moot point as we tried over and over from 1991-2002 to have a workable grass field and it just didn't grow well.



September 18th, 2017 at 8:47 AM ^

My kids play sports on turf. Those tiny little black god-damned nuggets they bring home with them and track all over the house afterwards are the devil... 

Wolverine Devotee

September 18th, 2017 at 8:48 AM ^

That's very interesting, thank you for pointing this out. I've been wondering when we're gonna fix the Block M and endzones colors.

We went to grass and lowered the field after tearing out the carpet turf in 1991. We had so many problems with that field. It drained horribly, the field was always in chunks in November and it costed a lot of money to maintain. The spring game was cancelled 3 times due to poor field conditions.

Hopefully we get some Blue endzones *ducks*.


September 18th, 2017 at 8:57 AM ^

Give me grass or give me death. Mud, divots, and those chunks that get stuck in facemasks are part of what makes football great. Stick to basketball if you don't want to worry about slipping. Throw some marshmallows on it too.