April 28th, 2016 at 1:00 AM ^

Maryland.  Its either 1985, 1989 or 1990, we played them at home all 3 years.  Its clearly before the field was lowered and grass planted for 1991 season.


Given the way the field paint and maize paint around the field look pretty new I might go with 1985.  Can't remember when exactly they went to that look but it was around that time.


April 28th, 2016 at 10:01 AM ^

A few years after they lowered the field, sometime in the LC era, somebody thought it would be great to go back to grass.  Problem was, the field was now below the water table -- there's an aquifer or something running under the stadium -- and so that grass was a mess.  There's more to the water story going all the way back to Yost at the time of construction, but I'm fuzzy on it.


April 28th, 2016 at 10:18 AM ^

The story that I heard about the poor conditions of the grass field were that the athletic department didn't take the drainage and irrigation design that the engineers designed and changed the system.  the result was that the field didn't dry properly and the turf never develed and adequate root system to hold up.


Bando Calrissian

April 28th, 2016 at 12:03 PM ^

The grass came right alongside the field-lowering in 1991.

The problem was drainage--they tried everything they could think of to fix it. Replacing the field bed. Sand drainage systems. Pipe systems. A crowned field. Every kind of turf (ahem, "prescription athletic turf") on the market. Mix in Michigan winters and you had a field that never took root. The roots were never deep enough to actually hold the turf into the ground, and the lowering put the field in a weird place for the water table. Ergo, clumping. Which is why there was a crew of guys after every stoppage who would go out and fix it.

I was on the field the day after the Rose Bowl in 1998, and even with people gouging out keepsakes (which I may or may not have done myself), that field was a mess after a full season. The move to FieldTurf was absolutely necessary.

That whole area of campus is basically on top of underground rivers and streams. Fingerle Lumber is on top of one, which is why you basically can't build anything bigger or taller on that property. There was some talk a decade or so ago that Athletics was considering purchasing the property and using it for a new swimming facility of some kind (outdoor pool, etc.), but you basically can't build anything on it other than what's there.


April 28th, 2016 at 4:27 PM ^

Pretty close, Bando.

The problem wasn't drainage, but how the grass was grown.

When the field was lowered, and grass installed, we all celebrated.  Marching on the old astroturf was *brutal* on my knees and must have been brutal for the players as well.  The lack of give and the tendency to "grab" a shoe is what caused so many ACL injuries.  So many teams went to grass fields.

Michigan went with a new innovation called Prescription Athletic Turf (which I think was developed at Purdue).  The idea was to build a large vacuum drainage system under the field, put a perforated grid over it, add in sand, layer on fill dirt and grow the grass.  If it rained, the pumps could be turned on and the rain would literally be sucked through the field.  To make the grass grow and root properly, though, required a very specific regimen.

The person in charge of the field, though, was (I believe) from the turf management program at PSU.  They had a particular way of growing grass that they believed in which was at odds with how P.A.T. needed to be grown to be effective with the vacuum system.

The net result was years of an AWFUL playing surface.  At first, the P.A.T. just came up in clumps.  Several times over the first couple of years, the field was completely re-sodded to no effect.  Then they abandoned the use of the advanced drainage system, added in regular fill in place of the sand, and tried to grow a regular grass field.  This worked better, but wasn't perfect either.

Ultimately, in 2003, the idea of a grass field was abandoned.  By then, Field Turf had come into vogue.  This is the current surface, and the surface used by many football programs today.  It consists of long strands of synthetic turf held up and in place by adding in tiny rubber pebbles (which are made from ground up used tires).  It is a surface that gives like grass with the ease of maintenance associated with a synthetic surface.

Bando Calrissian

April 28th, 2016 at 10:02 AM ^

Sight lines, safety, aesthetics, and the ability to add two rows of seats and up capacity

The only problem is that the water table and soil under the field is all sorts of strange (the stadium was built on the area where water drained out from the golf course--it was an underground lake), and lowering the field contributed to all sorts of problems with the grass. It never got any better, ergo, field turf.


April 28th, 2016 at 1:01 AM ^

1988: #14 Indiana at #20 Michigan. Attendance: 106,104. Good guys won 31-6.

Just my wild ass guess...Wisky? Miami? (NTM) It actually looks older than '88. Maybe WD could carbon date that Maize for us.


April 28th, 2016 at 10:09 AM ^

Has anyone here purchased or seen that image in someones house or a bar?  I want to buy that picture for the man cave, but I would like to hear from a satisfied, or dissatisfied shopper first.

oriental andrew

April 28th, 2016 at 11:09 AM ^

striped rugby shirts. That takes me back. I had a Korean knock-off Coca-Cola rugby shirt.

And docksiders. Vuarnet and Rayban were the "in" shades

I used to wear Jams until about 1987

Then I got mature and went with Z Cavaricci (or similar Bugle Boy knock-offs from Uptons or Mervyn's because, let's face it, I wasn't going to get my mom to buy me Cavariccis from Chess King). Or Girbauds, for that matter.

And non-baggy cargo pants, I remember those (also Bugle Boys)

And beach-related wear was cool, too. PCH, OP, Red Sand, Body Glove...

And other brands like Esprit, Genera, Benneton... and don't you touch my Members Only jacket.

This is Michigan

April 28th, 2016 at 3:21 AM ^

In the 100-something games I've attended at Michigan Stadium in the first 29 years of my life, I can't recall there ever being a maize ring around the field. This must pre-date me or maybe I was to young to notice. Does anyone know how many seasons/games the maize existed?

Side note: I do always get a kick out of how much white clothing fans wore back in the day.



April 28th, 2016 at 10:36 AM ^

That's better than maize ring around the stadium.  For all the youngsters who hate and revile Dave Brandon, I can easily say that Tom Goss was even worse.  He did more to damage our basketball program than the love child of Ed Martin and the entire NCAA enforcement committee.  He fired a lot of longstanding employees and replaced them with former football players.  Instead of revamping the exterior of the stadium to at least keep it on par with Notre Dame stadium, he made it look like Gibralter Trade Center.  He also operated the athletic department in the red.  Be glad we didn't have a football or hockey head coaching change during his tenure.  Fred Jackson would likely have been the head coach for both teams.