Indiana installing FieldTurf on practice facility

In each of his first three seasons as Indiana’s athletic director, Fred Glass oversaw at least one major structural investment to Memorial Stadium.

The first year was the department-altering construction of the $35 million North End Zone facility. The second year was the seemingly-visible-from-space $2 million scoreboard. Last year’s was much more subtle — a $1 million investment into improvements and additions to the concourse.

This year’s addition won’t be in the stadium itself, but just outside of it.

Friday, Indiana began replacing the natural grass on one of its two football practice fields — which lie just beyond the North End Zone — with FieldTurf similar to that which carpets the floor inside the stadium. The $600,000 project is expected to be finished by Aug. 3 in time for the beginning of preseason practice.

“We try to really visibly invest in football facilities every year as much as we can do it,” Glass said Friday. “It keeps things fresh and it demonstrates our ongoing commitment to football.”

And in this case, it demonstrates for an Indiana an encouraging commitment of fans to football, despite new coach Kevin Wilson’s 1-11 debut and the perennially rebuilding state of the football program, which has been to just one bowl game since 1993. The bill will be entirely taken care of by private funding, Glass said.

“It’s not cannibalizing other programs or the athletic department budget in particular,” Glass said. “… We raised the money in pretty big chunks, which I think shows there’s a lot of enthusiasm for this program.”

Glass said the project was necessary for a number of reasons, most notably that it has been very difficult to maintain the East practice field. Natural grass always requires more maintenance because it necessitates mowing and watering of the grass, but that field wasn’t getting enough sunlight. For much of the day, the field is covered by the shadow cast by Mellencamp Pavilion, which makes it difficult to grow grass there. By mid-to-late fall, the field is often too torn up to play on, which often requires the team to spend more of its practice time in Memorial Stadium.

“The grass really gets churned up,” Glass said. “We’ve really had to be protective of it not only with the football program but beyond the football program where we had to keep other sports off of that field. The great thing about having more artificial turf is we have more flexibility and other teams can use it without degrading the surface. Soccer and baseball and softball and field hockey can use that field (on occasions when their fields might not be available because of weather) and it’s directly adjacent to the indoor practice facility.”

Glass said there was also something of a safety issue, as a few gullies developed in between the two practice fields and the team had to put up cones to make sure players didn’t step in them.

This allows the Hoosiers to avoid that issue, but they will still keep a natural grass surface on the west practice field to make sure Indiana is prepared to play on both surfaces.

More and more fields are switching to artificial turf, and eight of the 12 stadiums in the Big Ten utilizes some form of artificial turf, but Purdue, Penn State, Northwestern and Michigan State all use natural grass. Glass said the Hoosiers would add Bermuda grass and alter the root system in the west field to make that more durable as well.

55 comments

  1. In regards to the $35 million north end zone facility, I’m not sure how much credit Glass deserves- aside from the fact that it was underway before he was on the job, my understanding is that the facility was necessary if IU wanted to stay in the Big Ten due to a conference imposed stadium seating requirement. Can anyone confirm that?

    Also, I’d like to thank the private donors who made the new turf possible. I’ve never donated to the IU (or any other) athletic department. I work two jobs so that my wife can be a full-time mom, so when it comes to discretionary spending, supporting the corrupt world of big-time college sports doesn’t fit into the equation. Gald that some people have the wherewithal to support IU football, though. If I ever hit the lottery, however, you can be sure that IU will name a styrofoam yard marker after me.

  2. davis, no the seating capacity was not an issue. Northwestern is smaller, so is Minnesota. The B10 does not operate the way other conferences operate. It would take an act of war to have Northwestern removed from the B10. The north end zone was built because it was absolutely necessary for recruiting and for IU being physically competitive.

    What you do with your money is your business, I wouldn;t give it another thought.

    If college athletics are corrupt why bother reading and commenting?

  3. The “Coaches Hot Seat” site has posted its outlook for IU in 2012 at:

    http://coacheshotseat.com/coacheshotseatblog/archives/13627#more-13627

    These geniuses say that Wilson has the pedigree to win, but that “if Paul Bryant, Woody Hayes, John McKay or Bud Wilkinson showed up at Indiana tomorrow they would have a tough time winning football games….BUT….those coaches would have the Hoosiers playing like a “House on Fire” right from the start and they would by Year 2, 3, 4 and forward field WINNING football teams at Indiana . . .”

    “Coaches Hot Seat” is a lot of fun, but its just another opinionated blog from people like us with a broader outlook. Just stirring it up and can’t wait for fall! SCHEDULE NOTRE DAME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Read somewhere that the new playoff set up will result in teams having to base their ranking based on both wins/losses, their league and the quality of their non-league schedule…meaning no more scheduling Saint Ignatius Loyola of Elletsville and similar others.

    Given that fact, given we expect significant improvement, etc., I am not sure I would schedule Notre Dame. Not sure their BCS-type ranking score will be up to the level we will need to help our quest for a playoff birth. Hopefully though, Notre Dame will leave their comfy ‘independent status’ and we can then decide if they are up to the required standard and quality of our schedule.

  5. Tsao, I think, as an Indiana fan, you’re thinking playoff in terms of college basketball too much. The playoff only consists of 2 teams, and I highly doubt Indiana will be competing for any of those spots anytime soon. We, however, CAN contend for a bowl berth, and under the playoff system, the rest of the bowls would continue to be carried in the same fashion they have for many years.

  6. 4 teams is my read also(w/maybe adding a plus 1)with the B10, SEC, B12 and PAC12 conference champs earning preferences with allowances for OOC schedules. 8 teams seemingly extends the playoff window to far.

  7. That’s how I read it and with the playoff games rotating amongst the traditional bowls. I could be wrong since all these are undefined proposals.

  8. TTG,

    I liked the article you provided! Sounds like progress is being made but not sure where the finish line is.

  9. I agree. Sounds as if the SEC and the Big 12 are trying to squeeze a few extra dollars out of the Champions Bowl on those years when that particular site is not involved in the playoff. However it comes out, we should have a more specific idea Tuesday when the Presidents meet. I think its a good idea that the Presidents are deciding this one.

    Did you notice the line where the 12 conference reps + Notre Dame…the ‘independents’ do not even try to hide the idea that it is spelled N-o-t-r-e D-a-m-e. Can’t wait till we have them (and use them) on our schedule as fodder for us to have a better pre-conference schedule ranking score for the Bowl computer.

    As you say, schedule Notre Dame now!!!

  10. Used to be there would be one team (sometimes two) that would whine and scream that they had been disrespected and passed over for the BCS Championship.

    Now, with a four team playoff, there will be a half dozen teams (maybe more) that will complain about being overlooked.

    The arguments haven’t ended, they have just changed.

  11. It is what it is…, already some of the conferences are complaining about not being properly represented, the Bowls about not being included…and the BCS about the end of its dominance over the present system.

    I really feel the important step is to make the entire structure more accountable. The new system needs to stay away from abuses like the open in-your-face corruption of the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix.

    The change is needed. The question is which direction will the presidents of the NCAA institutions take it in? So far the most important questions being discussed (that are making it into the media)seem to be about increasing the money and how to divide it up, especially among the larger conferences. Add, don’t forget the media has a vested investment…it is the ‘middleman’ through which all those dollars flow in the various directions.

  12. The problem is our history of the finale to a season of college FB has always been in terms of bowls. Evolving to the point that a .500 season earns a bowl. The wrong process for ending up with a NC. Sporadic bowl games where #1 plays #2 for NC. Now the priorities will be 1st the playoffs for having a great season and bowls 2nd for having a good season and both will reward the programs and their fans. The major bowls have always been the vehicle to a NC. Now they will be the escort through the playoffs which in my mind makes them more important and prominent than ever before. There will be some rocks in the road for 2-3 years but they will get it right. Hell even w/68 BB teams in March somebody hollers foul. I’ll bet a lot of OOC schedules get toughened up. IIRC in 2017 SC of the PAC12 will play 10 conference games, +1 against ND, +1 against a B10 foe. Now that is the way a schedule should be.

  13. Sorry guys, I’m one Hoosier fan that is not anxious to see IU play ND in football, and I don’t think it’s going to happen for many years to come. Furthermore, I don’t think Wilson or Glass want to it either, at least any time soon.

    In the foreseeable future, there is no upside for ND to play IU. I can’t imagine ND doing anything to help IU have more credibility or become more successful in football. And I can’t see anyone at ND believing that a football game against IU would provide any upside for ND’s program. It’s not a traditional football rivalry, IU football does not draw well, and a ND victory would mean nothing to ND’s ranking, while an unlikely (but possible) IU upset of ND would devastate ND’s rankings for that year. Nothing to gain, but everything to lose! If you’re ND, why would you schedule IU in football?

    As for IU, at least in the next four years, IU’s non-conference schedule is going to need to include relatively easy-to-defeat DI and DII teams. Wilson will need to win all those non-conference games and three or four conference victories to have any chance of getting his teams to bowl games year in and year out, and using that momentum to build his program. Not to mention that playing in the very physical Big Ten takes a toll on players’ health and Wilson will need to stay as healthy as possible in non-conference games before the Big Ten schedule begins.

    Sorry, I don’t see a ND football game happening for at least the next five years. Even then, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for either program.

  14. davis, I concur with Jay Gregg, what you do with your money is your business. And good for your children that your wife is able to be a stay-at-home Mom. I believe the “toughest job in the world” will be a great benefit to your children in the long run and that one day they will appreciate the extra effort you put in to make that possible. I salute you!

    But davis, to imply that if you were to win the lottery you would still not make a significant donation to IU athletics seems to be painting with a very broad brush! Do you think IU Athletics is “corrupt?” While I agree that aspects of the NCAA may be mildly corrupt, that’s not IU’s fault. The NCAA system in place is the system IU must work within. It’s relative, and therefore you either want IU Athletics to be successful and you care enough to make a contribution, or you don’t really care about IU Athletics. Withholding donations from IU athletics because you believe the NCAA is corrupt seems illogical.

    Extending your logic, because the “world of big-time college sports” is corrupt, people of means should not provide financial support to their college teams, thereby forcing them to stop being competitive or even participating in big-time college sports. I must be missing something here.

  15. I was under the impression most of that discussion was tongue-in-cheek. Was I incorrect?
    But yeah, just in case anyone’s wondering, there’s pretty much no way that happens in at least the next five years. Won’t get into pessimistic/optimistic scenarios for building of the program, but Glass has stated that he looks to schedule one BCS level non-conference game per year and I believe they’re booked through 2017.

  16. Tongue in cheek??????!!!???

    Notre Dame is avoiding a confrontation with the Hoosiers, exactly because, as we move forward, ND has little chance of being the State of Indiana’s top program.

    Looked at the Notre Dame schedule and it confirms my suspicion. Why else would they schedule some school named Blue and Gold University??!!

  17. In all seriousness, I think my point (and perhaps others–or at least their hope) is that we are all very aware the one thing we can not change is IU’s football history.

    But, I sense that there is a totally new mood (spirit, culture, vision) about football at Indiana, that there is a serious- indeed, very serious commitment, to establishing a solid program based on competitiveness, success and national prominence and that serious and sincere fans will make sure and expect for this to happen.

    The goals established by A.D. Glass’ vision and commitment, the approach, solid foundation of and environment brought by Coach Wilson and the determination of Hoosier fans, typified by several who contribute to this blog is ambitious but realistic. Northwestern did so, with far lesser resources than the Hoosiers have…why not the Hoosiers?

  18. Nothing quite like a fool, the same fool who ruined the Basketblog, to attempt to ruin a discussion about football. Husky Tom wants no part of Downing’s Fifth, aka Harvard for Hillbillies and other aliases.

    Nice try, actually a poor attempt you feeble minded fool.

  19. Everybody knows the IDS Basketblog was ruined by Zach Osterman(a.k.a. Ginger) when he pushed for the formatting changes in developing Hoosier Hype. What a horrible failure.

    Osterman, knowing he was soon to graduate, was in cahoots with Korman and Dopirak. All three conspired together to destroy Basketblog.

    Both Osterman and Korman float round on Scoop using various aliases and concoct fake feuds and keep the place from returning to its dead state it used to be in when the IDS Basketblog was the primary spot for hoops talk. Osterman was the original 4guards and Korman is currently posing as Harvard for Hillbillies…It’s all rather silly stuff.

    I’ve been told by various inside sources(friends from a classical literature class I took last semester at IU)that Husky Tom(a.k.a. Reggie) is Laffy’s lover. Husky threw Downing out of his life when Laffy starting blogging on Hoosier Hype. They’re now traveling in Europe and won’t return until mid-July. After the blog breakup between Husky and Downing, D-5(aka Downing’s 5th, V-Five, The Fifth) went into severe depression, frequently having manic episodes, and began having a long affair with a blogger named Remora. Remora was a graduate at the time working toward his Ph.D in Physiology. He quickly became captivated by Downing after a pure chance encounter with him at Trojan Horse. Remora was meeting with subjects determined to be manics and was performing interviews as lead psychologist with a patient group involved in a three month study primarly concerned with blogging and its effects on improving self-esteem amongst Hoosier fans having severe manic episodes while blogging on Scoop. Downing and Remora soon became “partners” and have started their own blog site originating out of Toronto called High-Sticking Hoosier Pricks on Ice.

    Osterman(aka It’s Official) has been suffering from delusions of grandeur and has never stopped having Downing hallucinations since destroying Basketblog and being fired from Inside the Hall. It is the manifestation of inadequacy combined with overwhelming guilt.

  20. The official name for the D-5 distress, paranoia, and guilt ‘It’s Official’ is occasionally plagued by on Scoop is coincidentally the title of a rather decent 60s song by, no less a coincidence, a group named The Count Five.

    I bet some of you old rockers remember the tune. You just can’t beat the music of the 60s. Is that not a good song?

  21. Glad to see you guys are doing well in here.

    As for me, every day of my life that I realize I can’t be this guy, I feel a sadness inside.

  22. Chet, yes, my mistake. I dated myself by using a reference to DII. But I think you know what I meant.

  23. NCAA Division II has always been Division II no matter how far back you go. The Football Championship Series (FCS) used to be called NCAA Division 1AA, if that’s what you meant.

  24. That’s a common mistake (I make it often as well and just track the Division the Big Ten is in). More than anything it points out how incoherent and stupid the NCAA’s “division name/classifying” issue is. Why name yourself Div. 2 when you can be Division 1 A and Div 1AA is even better? This is only an issue when we try to ‘balance’ the schedule (of either football or basketball) by scheduling a perceived soft touch, which sometimes ends up smearing all over the intended results. Still, it is neither a common nor a meaningful mistake. As I said, I don’t even try to keep it clear in my mind.

  25. It’s actually as coherent as you could possibly make the system. Just stems from the fact that there are two different levels of football within Division I and there needs to be a distinction between the two. There is a bigger difference in structure between Division I-AA and Division II than there is between Division I-A and Division I-AA.
    You can do whatever you want in conversation and you can say Division II when you mean Division I-AA so as not to inconvenience yourself. People do that all the time. But if you were the NCAA and trying to divide the membership considering the differences between them, you’d do something similar.

  26. FBS (1A) is stronger than FCS (1AA) but FCS schools have been known to win against them. Division II isn’t in the same galaxy. A Division II school might well surrender 100 points to an FBS school.

  27. I agree with you that the NCAA knows what it is talking about and (I believe) the NCAA is distinguishing between those universities that offer scholarships and those that do not, as well as the complexity of their scholarship program. Our discussion is, most frequently, much more basic than that and I gladly leave the differences between 1-AA and 1-A, Div. II and Div. III to the athletic directors and to the knowledgeable and informed members of the press who protect me as a part of the ignorant masses when I buy my tickets or sign up for cable services or subscribe to a newspaper to follow my class 1AA program. And then, as if not confused enough I have to try to consider if my favorite 1AA program is a ‘major’ playing against other ‘majors’ or whether someone is sneaking a mid-major or even a minor-major while I’m trying to figure out why someone may consider accepting a coaching job at Indiana University is a step down from accepting a similar job at Boise State.

    The discussion becomes a confusing issue, just too complex an intellectual discussion for an immigrant kid raised in the fields of Indiana chucking corn. And, I am not sure it leads anywhere. So my point… I’m not sure there is a point.

  28. Ohh s___t Chet! Between posting about my confusion to Dustin, now I see you posted again and are clarifying FBS 1A is more than FCS 1AA and that a Division II school might surrender 100 points to and FCS 1A. Didn’t we come close to that two years ago? … and we’re just a 1A school! Maybe we need more AAs…go Hoosiers!!

  29. That’s exactly my point. Our team that gave up 73 points to Wisky would have beaten a DII team by at least 60 points. Wisconsin would have laid down about 120 on them.

    There is a BIG difference between DI and DII. Once you get to DIII they aren’t even offering scholarships. DII is as low as you go and still offering scholarships. There are a lot of scholarship athletes that could never, ever compete in the Big Ten or any other BCS conference. They are great athletes that don’t happen to be 6’4″, 245lbs and world class sprinters with sticky hands. Instead, they are highly skilled 5’8″, 150lb receivers that run a 4.5 40. They are really good but, my goodness, how do you really think they are gonna match up?

    There is a big difference.

  30. Podunker- But my dedicated styrofoam yard line marker would be 250 feet tall! I read a couple of years ago that an OSU alumnus ponied up $750k so that the Buckeye band could make the road trip to Texas or someplace. I’d love to do something like that, so I bought two lottery tickets this week. Not being an insider I don’t know whether IU is more or less corrupt than other programs (I suspect “less” if only because the stakes are lower), but one must admit that the whole system is, if not corrupt, full of hypocrisy. Coaches making millions, players coddled until they are of no further use then given the bum’s rush, etc. And speaking of hypocrisy, I can’t wait for the whole corrupt thing to start again this fall! I really think I must be schizo at times.

    As to the “no upside for ND to schedule IU” argument, I don’t buy it. Like all major programs, ND has several “no-upside cupcakes” (or “all down-side cupcakes”, depending on how you look at it) on its schedule every year, so why would IU be more or less “upsidey” or “downsidey” than any of the current ND cupcakes? Po, I agree that it is unlikely we will see ND on the schedule, but I must disagree that IU needs to schedule the likes of Towson St to rack up wins for the sake of bowl eligibility. That strategy is obviously not working; the upside of beating a Towson St. is wee, but the emotional downside of losing to such a team has to be damning to player morale. Scheduling Navy and Missouri is an improvement.

    And finally, I will mount my soapbox again to point out that the NCAA has failed again, with the new playoff system now being devised, to assert its authority over deciding a football champion. Whoever wins the coming playoff will still not be the NCAA football champ.

  31. Wow, you can tell we’re all really bored when 8 consecutive posts discuss, in detail, the differences between the divisions in college football.

    Yes Chet, you were correct twice and I was incorrect twice. I should have used, in my original post on the matter, and then again in my second post, IAA or FCS. My error resulted from speed and laziness, not from a bad memory. I should remember well because the only colleges that recruited me to play football out of High School were (1) D-IAA, four D II Schools and too many colleges playing in D III (I use the word “recruit” loosely in reference to D III programs. It was more like,”hey, come to our school and try out for our football team!”). A grand total of zero (0) D I (a.k.a, FBS) schools recruited me. It was either a blessing or a curse that I grew a little less than thee inches after graduating from High School (hey, I was 17 when I graduated HS).

    davis, I really and sincerely believe IU Athletics is not corrupt, especially now, after we all learned how much damage a corner-cutting coach like Sampson can do to a University’s most beloved athletic program. Anybody ever read Tom Crean’s Employment Contract with Indiana University? Wow, talk about a short leash! If Crean fails to turn his head when he coughs, he’s subject to termination. But as for the NCAA being corrupt, while I don’t automatically connect big money to corruption, I believe the better term to use in describing the NCAA is “inept.” The NCAA is an inept organization and impotent in trying to prevent or punish corrupt schools, athletic programs and coaches (i.e., Kentucky and Calipari). But part of that problem emanates front he fact that legally speaking, the NCAA does not have any real power. When they “investigate” a program suspected of cheating, they don’t have the same powers that law enforcement agencies enjoy. That’s not the NCAA’s fault, that’s a matter for the U.S. Congress. No, I’d characterize the NCAA as opportunists that frequently take their eyes off the ball (education) and have had their integrity compromised by the willingness of so many member’s quest for more and more money. Is that the same thing as corrupt? I’ll leave that up to others to decide.

    As for ND playing IU in football, yes ND has some “cupcakes” on their schedule every year, but as I referenced in my previous post, most of those cupcake games are played as a result of ND’s football tradition. But given that they also play schools like Mich, Mich St, and USC every year, they have to give their players an easy game once in a while or they’d all be injured. Again, IU football brings nothing to ND football, and if IU were to ever beat ND, it would be a huge boost for IU football at the expense of ND’s program (remember the impact of Michigan’s loss to App St a few years ago?), especially given that the two schools “compete” for recruits throughout the state and the Midwest. It ain’t going to happen in the regular season any time soon, if ever in our life times. But maybe we can meet them in a bowl game some day down the line.

  32. I was just reading about Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston picking up their degrees in three years. Matt Roth has his masters. VO will graduate in 3 years. Will in 3 1/2 before entering law school. Cody is on track to graduate in 2 1/2 years. This is at a very good school.

    Then you have a bait and tackle shop like UK and nobody on their basketball team ever graduates even though ‘present’ is a passing grade.

    Yet, through the wisdom of NCAA rules, IU has taken an APR hit while Kaintuck goes untouched.

    Yes, the system is flawless.

  33. Speaking of App State, don’t be surprised to see their FCS dynasty end. I don’t know the inside baseball but much of their coaching staff defected to arch rival (and perennially pathetic) Western Carolina University, including the son of head coach Jerry Moore.

    There has GOT to be a great story behind this one but I don’t know what it is.

  34. Chet, I agree with your frustration about KY and other colleges not being held accountable for the majority of their BB players getting their degrees (“a non-traditional program”). But is that corruption or, as I said, ineptitude on the part of the NCAA? The rules are a joke. Any representative of the the NCAA talking on the subject of “student athlete” or “education” is a joke, a farce, a disgrace. I think the NCAA is, in a sense a huge fraud, but I can’t see them meeting the definition of “corrupt.”

    Maybe we’re playing with semantics here, but the larger point is that the rules need to be changed regarding the definition of student athlete. Once again, not enough people really care, and in relative terms, it’s not a major issue these days.

  35. The flip side of that is, kudos to the Hoosier academic advisor that is ushering our guys through summers sessions, etc., so that most of them will finish their eligibility at a fine graduate school.
    If I’m a parent of a recruit, that kind of record would make up my mind.

  36. I’m still not sure if Crean gets into Northwestern on his SAT scores. Accelerated graduation rates doesn’t necessarily make for the Harvard of the Big 10.

  37. I didn’t know CTC was even applying.

    These guys are taking more than full loads in real classes and attending extra sessions all while competing in a D1 sport at a good university.

    I’m not sure you appreciate how hard that is.

  38. I took 42 hours in one 10 month span of Business School. It was a bitch and nothing compared to what some of these guys must be experiencing.

    I commend them for their hard work while playing a demanding college sport. They must have no free time. How on earth did they fit in a few tweets about Jesus or two hours of church on Sundays? Not that there isn’t any value when you’re young to just sit back, chill, go to a movie, see a concert, …smoke some weed. Hell, you might even become President(or get kicked off a team and forever labeled as a degenerate thug).

Comments are closed.