IU football field may have to be replaced

We’ve received an update on IU’s damaged football field from the Associated Press, which spoke with athletic director Rick Greenspan about it this afternoon. Here is that story:

By Michael Marot

Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium football field turf was severely damaged by heavy rain and strong winds this week and has been ruled unplayable.

Now it’s a mad dash to get it fixed before Indiana’s season-opener Aug. 30 against Western Kentucky.

“We’re bringing in some turf specialists to see if it can be salvaged or whether it’s totaled,” Indiana athletic director Greenspan told The Associated Press on Friday. “We have to do this in about six or seven weeks, and it very well might be totaled. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The problems began Wednesday when the Bloomington area was hit with flash flooding, turning the football field, which rests beneath the parking lot level, into what some eyewitnesses described as a floating island of green turf.

When the water finally drained, a hole about 10 inches deep ran from the middle of the field, just inside the end line to the fence separating the field from fans.

That was only part of the problem.

Greenspan said the south end of the field, from the end zone to about the 30- or 40-yard line, was lumpy and he’s still uncertain how much it will cost to fix. The estimate, Greenspan believes, could be $750,000 to $1 million.

“It needs considerable work, and we’ve got to get this done,” he said.

Finding a quick-fix for the field won’t be easy, either.

Greenspan said it normally takes three to four weeks to install new turf, but the school must first determine whether it can be repaired or will need to be replaced. Then they must find a company available to do the job, and it could require additional work to smooth out the lumps — all before Aug. 30.

“From start to finish, in my experience, it’s usually been about four weeks,” Greenspan said.

The damage is already causing scheduling conflicts.

Football players have been instructed not to practice on the field and this weekend’s football camps are being moved to another venue. In August, before the Hoosiers’ opener, Memorial Stadium is also scheduled to host the national drum and bugle corps competition.

Still, Greenspan believes it can be repaired before the Western Kentucky game.

“At worst, I think we have to do extensive repair or replace it,” he said. “I don’t know what it (the water damage) means to the resiliency of the field, the subsurface, how much has broken down underneath there, that sort of thing.

We’ve got a guy coming in early next week and he’ll give us his educated opinion.”

For Greenspan, fixing the field has become priority No. 1.

“The closest thing I’ve seen to this was when I was out at Cal in ’89 and they had the earthquake,” he said. “The turf just kind of rode along like a wave. I’ve never seen water or the volume of water get underneath carpet like that and destroy the turf like that.”


  1. Its certainly an odd situation. Oh well, I guess we’re getting a new field. How about some blue turf? LOL

  2. how is it that is cost $500K to build but $1 million to fix?

    I wonder if we could announce we are going to name it Sampson Field at Memorial Stadium and then get someone to donate $1 million for us not to.

  3. This is a big blow. Some of you may know that Drum Corp International (DCI) is planning on using the field in the first week in August. It was move to I.U. because the new Lucas Oil Stadium will not be ready in time. DCI brings alot a revenue into a community when they have this contest.

  4. Is this Mother Nature’s way of humorously summarizing the state of the IU athletic department?

    “When it rains, it pours.”

    West Coast Hoosier

  5. P.S. Are the reports true that Kelvin Sampson was last seen in a small plane seeding the clouds?

    West Coast Hoosier

  6. It costs more because this is 2008, not 2003. Plus, the substructure under the turf is damaged.

  7. Will they play the games at a local high school if it can’t be fixed? I mean, honestly, where? I don’t want to knock IU like earlier but this is a huge problem and kind of a disgrace for this to happen to a Big Ten team, regardless of IU’s modest football tradition or not.

  8. It’s frightening how pathetic the MSU fan base is.

    No IU fan ever said that they DESERVED to go to a higher bowl than MSU. I was watching the IU board on Peegs throughout bowl selection week. MSU took “we will bring more fans than you” as “we deserve it” (remember that their great great reading comprehension comes from having the worst University in the Big Ten by US News Peer Assessment rankings)

    IU fans HOPED to go to the highest bowl possible, and MSU fans took that as “what, you think you deserve it over us?” IU fans told MSU fans that they would bring a large contingent (which they did, bringing ~11,000 to Tempe), and that’s why we would be an attractive team. MSU fans don’t like it it, and seize the opportunity to degrade Hoeppner and what he did.

    It’s just a prime example of what MSU is – inferior and angry. They will never be the flagship school in Michigan. They’ll always be the “little brother”. They have a ballooning inferiority complex because they refuse to accept that Michigan is better than them. It’s a school for the rejects of U of Michigan, plain and simple. Outside of farm programs (remember it was Michigan Agricultural College once), there’s nothing they’re better than Michigan at academically.

    They’re angry people. It’s a bit scary reading their message boards after what has become a consistent disappointment in their athletics, degrading their own players. You’re all being introduced to what is one of the worst fan bases in the Big Ten. The angry, inferior, Spartans.

  9. Just spoke to a grounds guy. The whole field will be replaced and new drainage put in. The drainage is the problem. Maybe IU could figure a way out to link a new drainage system up to the 8 port o pots they put in the green lot so I can pee without it overflowing on game day.

  10. Obviously, it’s a bigger geographic issue than IU has wanted to admit all these years.

    IU tried Purdue’s PAT turf years ago and complained because it didn’t drain properly and left swampy sections in the end zones and along the sidelines. Funny, the technology has drained properly at Purdue for 30 years.

    Methinks IU just keeps ignoring the true cause, putting band-aids over it. Mother Nature always wins in the end.

  11. Man, some of you kids posting on here are truly juvenile. You like to take potshots at IU football at any opportunity you can get. Asking what high school stadium we will use? That’s insulting. This is a program that is trying hard to put together something (finally) its fans can be proud of and all they get is this pathetic reaction like we are all too accoustomed to.
    I see people are wanting to make jokes about the “schedule Lynch put together.” Hmmm….never hear any of you trolls complaing when IU is playing their cupcake schedule year-in and year-out in basketball…FOR THE PAST MILLENIUM. No, you just sit back and wet your pants because you would watch IU play basketball against anybody. Double-standard.
    This is an act of God. Don’t dramatize the issue. IU put in a good product and s&*^% happens. Get over it.

  12. I was thinking the same thing Matt.

    And DJ, how on earth is this a disgrace? Floods can cause a lot of damage. The field will either be fixed or replaced. Its obviously an unexpected situation, but it will get done. And to be honest, why do you care? Go back to the Red Cedar message board and take some more cheap shots at the Hoeppners.

    And by the way Jason, we play South Florida in Bloomington in 09. Is that a big enough team for you to be bothered to show up to?

  13. Hrmm lets see, IU bball plays multiple top 25 teams…what does IU football do? jackcrap and give the worst possible option the head coach job…because thats the cheapest and easiest one to go for.

  14. They keep saying August 30th for football, but DCI is coming in there on August 6th. Cuts about 3 weeks out of their timeline.

  15. Hmmm let’s see:

    IU football plays 4 out-of-conference games this year. Jason, did you even take a look at the schedule? Two of those 4 teams went to bowls last year (Ball State and Central Michigan). Now, how is that exactly cupcake?
    I guess the football team should schedule the likes of UNC-Pembroke, right?
    IU can only play the schedule it was given and Lynch, for your information, has nothing to do right now with creating that schedule. IU plays multiple top 25 teams because the Big Ten consistently has 4 or 5 teams ranked within the conference and they play each of those teams twice. As far as their OOC…pathetic. Why don’t you do a little research before blasting IU football on their OOC? Other Big Ten football programs are playing your precious Top-25 schedule with the likes of: Eastern Michigan, Louisiana-Lafayette, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Boiling Green, Montana State, Duke, Southern Illinois, Ohio, Akron, Cal Poly….
    Now, how is IU’s schedule much different than their counterparts?
    So sorry the Hoosiers schedule couldn’t live up to your expectations but thankfully we have some reasonable scheduling going on like the rest of the conference for a program trying to establish itself.
    We’ll expect to see you at the football games because we know we can rely on your 100% support for the team.

  16. Kathy,

    Yes the DCI is will be here on the 6th, but the date the field has to be ready for is the 30th for the home opener in football. They will not rush the repair and risk a dangerous playing surface for the entire season for the DCI, they will move it to Armstrong Stadium if Memorial can’t be finished.

  17. DCI will NOT be held in a 6,500 seat stadium, which Armstrong Stadium holds. Quarterfinals alone on Thursday sees 10,000-15,000 paying customers and Finals on Saturday will see 25,000 to 35,000 fans.

  18. I imagine the DCI Championship would bring in a few million for Bloomington and the surrounding area. That’s no joke. If DCI is forced to move someplace quite far away, all those dollars go too. It is also a major inconvenience for those that have already purchased tickets and made travel and hotel reservations. There are a lot of people planning to come from southern Ontario. If the site is moved to Atlanta or Denver or any other place farther away, I’m sure they will just cancel.

  19. Never said it would be canceled. I said IU will not rush to meet the deadline to hold the DCI show in Bloomington and have a dangerous field that would be played on for an entire season before they would have to fix it again. They would push to move it somewhere else before that would happen. What the DCI decides is beyond IU’s control.

  20. Taking “potshots” at IU football is getting easier and easier, if that’s what you call them. Personally, I find a lot of these “potshots” acceptable. “Basketball” schools like Kansas, UConn, Wake Forest and even Illinois have gone to real bowl games against big opponents in the last few years, while IU sits and spins its wheels. Yes, we lost a coach to cancer. But we had a chance to make a big splash and show a bigger commitment to football with a new coach, like when Oregon State hired Dennis Erickson or when USC with Pete Carroll. Hire a big name, raise some eyebrows. But instead, we went with the “good ol’ Indiana boy” hire, which makes me fear that another 5-7 season is upon us.

    Illinois went 1-11 two years ago, then beat Ohio State in Columbus the next year on their way to the Rose Bowl. What’s our excuse?

  21. Agreed, God must be an IU fan, and he’s pissed that we always schedules a bull s*** non-conference schedule to pad our record. Then we get into conference play and lose pretty much every game. The past 5 years, IU is 10-34 in conference games…

    If we’re gonna build this program, we should be playing the best teams possible to help develop players and get some national exposure. I’m sorry, but Indiana State, Akron, Western Michigan, and Murray State just aren’t gonna cut it… I’m not saying play all top 25 teams, but try to get a game against a Texas, Tennessee, or Nebraska type team.

  22. Well, well…..
    It’s always a Catch-22 with you guys, isn’t it?
    You harp on the schedule but then whine and cry when we don’t go to bowls.
    We played some pretty high profile games a few years back (remember beating Oregon on the road – something very few teams do) and it got us squat.
    As always, you guys want to see a big name team come in but wouldn’t show up to see it anyway.
    We did lose a coach to cancer, yes, but did you ever think about the impact that it could have by also wiping out all of his hand-picked staff? What about some continuity for once? IU football has been a revolving door of coaches for the past decade and it’s time that we had a familiar set of coaches in place for longer than 2 years.
    Of course, I leave it up to all the armchair ADs on this board to have all the right decisions. I guess that’s why you’re the AD, right?

  23. For those of you fellow DCI fans, here’s some good news from the June 11th edition of the Bloomington Tomes-Herald:

    “Garrett said that the early indications are that the cost of repairing or replacing the turf could partially be covered by insurance. His timetable for determining the best course of action and then working out the details is tight; the undamaged half of the field is currently being used for Indiana’s football camps — an important recruiting tool for the program — and is scheduled to host the Drum Corps International World Championships starting Aug. 6.

    “We obviously want to accommodate them and are early indications are that we will be able to do that,” Garrett said.

    DCI’s event was originally scheduled to take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis but was displaced because construction there will not be completed in time.”

  24. Tom,
    Taking “potshots” at dorks like you who profess to have a wealth of football knowledge just keeps getting easier and easier. You are the typical IU fan who wants all flash but no substance.
    Hire a name like Dennis Erickson? Are you friggin kidding me? The guy is a gypsy in the coaching caravan and his teams have regularly enjoyed outlaw status. But, I guess that would go over well for a university (and certain fans like yourself) that hired Kelvin Sampson.
    One of IU’s biggest deficits is its fans, actually. Fans who have become so narrow-minded they think of their school in terms of “basketball school.” Uh….since when? Why can’t our fans support both major men’s sports? Wisconsin “Nation” doesn’t think of themselves that way and has had not problem replacing IU as one of the elite contenders in Big Ten basketball. How did they do it?
    They bought a nice, new attractive Kohl Center from the coffers of football moeny while IU “spins its wheels” thinking it can compete with its conference rivals on basketball alone. It plays in an outdated relic called Assembly Hall. Football funds basketball at the universities who know how to do it right.

  25. Buddy Lee Holly-

    Take off your coke-bottle glasses and look at my post a little harder. How did Illinois go from 1-11 to the Rose Bowl in one season? Was it because the fans suddenly started cheering louder?

    You are a bit of a clumsy writer, but you have a few nice points. The facilities do need an upgrade. And yes, the fans are mired in a “basketball-only stupor”. We agreed on that point. No need to get menstrual on me.

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