IU forced to replace field at Memorial Stadium


3 p.m. update: We’ve learned that IU expects the replacement of the field, which is to cost about $410,000, to be covered either by FEMA funds or the university’s insurance. That information comes from H-T reporter James Boyd who spoke this afternoon with IU Vice President and Chief Administration Officer Terry Clapacs in South Bend where the university’s trustees are meeting today.

11:30 a.m. update: IU has posted a brief statement on its athletics Web site saying that “the athletic department and the university are currently in negotiations to replace the existing turf with a state-of-the-art playing surface that will be installed and ready to use by the first week of August.”

That timetable would have the field ready for the Drum and Bugle Corps event that’s scheduled to draw thousands to Bloomington in early August.


Workers have begun tearing up the field at Indiana’s Memorial Stadium this morning, making it apparent that the field will be replaced.

Using a backhoe, three workers from Crider and Crider construction peeled off a one-inch layer of green grass-like fibers and rubber pellets, revealing a gravel surface below it. The turf was placed in large red dumpsters.

The field was damaged during the recent flooding in the Bloomington area, but IU officials said as recently as yesterday that no updates were available on the university’s plans to repair or replace the Astroplay turf field, which was installed in 2003 at a cost of about $450,000.

The damage centered around a manhole cover under the field in the south end zone, where the field surface sunk about a foot. Ripples in the field surface emanating from the area of the manhole cover ran past the 30-yard line, rendering a large portion of the field unusable.

No information was immediately available Thursday about the cost or timetable for the repairs. Athletic director Rick Greenspan said two weeks ago that he thought the repairs could cost $750,000 to $1,000,000, but that was before a detailed assessment of damage had been completed. IU athletics spokesman J.D. Campbell said this morning that the university will issue a formal announcement about the field in the next day or two.

We will update this story as we gather further information.


  1. Heaven forbid they make their assessments public before the replacement contract is signed and the check is cut. Perhaps it took an anonymous donor to secretly buy-out the value of the old turf’s remaining life-span before we could effectively part ways with it.

    Speaking of cutting, before the old turf is cut up and sent to retirement in Terre Haute’s landfill, did it ever occur to Greenspan & co. that they might be able to sell pieces of turf as collector’s items in order to help recoup the replacement cost?

    No, I say we leave the sink hole in place and use its murky depths to throw countless sums of money into, rather than spending millions on people who no longer work for IU athletics.

  2. Good Lord. It amazes me the lengths people will go to complain about something. Also, before someone says it, the old turf was installed in 2003 and Greenspan came to IU in 2004. However, I’m sure someone will find a way to blame him for this.

  3. The turf would be considered part of the improvements to the land on which the stadium complex is located, and as such might actually be insured against damage or destruction. That would be under a hazard insurance policy. Because the damage resulted from a flood, however, it’s possible that a flood policy would be required, and it’s doubtful IU had one, as the field and stadium are not in what is normally considered a floodplain. So they’ll probably have to foot the bill for replacing it, even if it was insured.

  4. Thanks for the update!!! As a DCI parent (who has already purchased non-refundable airline tickets to Indianapolis), I am very interested in the COMPLETION DATE for this project.

    Thanks again!!!!

  5. I am not sure if insurance would cover the replacement or not, but I do know the company that installed the turf went bankrupt recently and is no longer a public company. That could make even the ability to collect on the insurance murky if we were legally able to sue.

    I look at that manhole cover and I am wondering what they were thinking when they tried to put turf over that thing. Seems like it was just something waiting to happen. It made it 5 years and that in itself was a miracle looking at it.

  6. That manhole cover has never been exposed and I don’t think anyone would want it to be and take a chance on someone being injured by falling on it. There hasn’t been any construction at that end which means that it’s always been there.
    I don’t think it was the problem anyway. In the picture it looks like the whole area around the cover is sunken and you can plainly see the drain behind it. Water goes down the drain, not the manhole. The soil is washed out under the gravel layer. It would be interesting to get down there and take a closer look. I might just do that.

  7. Aubrey,

    Last we spoke to IU officials about the subject (about a week ago) they did believe that insurance would cover some of the cost.


  8. How about a Kellen Lewis update? His status has become probably the most important matter for IU sports for the upcoming year, now that the hoops team is pretty much complete, for better or for worse.

    If he plays, we are looking at another bowl game. If not, we’ll be back to our usual 1-7 or 0-8 vs. the Big Ten

  9. The last time we had grass at The Rock, we had all kinds of problems. The newer FieldTurf is easier to maintain and looks good.

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