August 26, 2011
As Prep Rally has documented extensively, the period between the end of the 2010 high school football season and start of the 2011 prep gridiron campaign has born a handful of new, colorful fields across the country. While Oxford (Mich.) High may have chosen to go with the most common of those non-traditional colors -- blue -- for its new FieldTurf field, it's now being warned by the college which started the colored-field trend that it in no way is allowed to actually call its field "Blue Turf" in a surreal bit of copyright enforcement.
According to the Oakland Press of Oakland, Mich., Oxford High athletic director Mike Watson was sent a letter of notice from the Boise State legal offices claiming that the high school was not allowed to call its new, navy blue field "blue turf," as doing so would infringe on a 25-year trademark Boise State placed on the phrase in past years.
"They just said: 'We recognize that you're doing a blue field and we just want you to know that here's what you can do and what you can say and what you can't,'" Oxford athletic director Mike Watson told the Press. "We respect their trademark and their properties and all the things Boise State stands for."
That's not to say that Boise State didn't want Oxford installing a bright blue field. Quite the contrary. As more and more high schools move to colorful turf at the home stadiums, the allure and cache of Boise's original blue and orange turf only grows.
What the Broncos didn't want happening is Oakland officials using the phrase "Blue Turf" to help promote any events on the high school field. As such, the school has already used a variety of slightly tweaked "blue turf" phrases in pumping up fans before the school's season opening game against Lake Orion (Mich.) High on Friday. In additional to "Navy Blue Turf", the surface has also been called "Oxford Blue Turf" and "True Blue Turf".
It's hard to tell what's more galling, Boise State's preemptive attack limitations placed on a small Michigan school which emulated its football field by spending $300,000 on a new stadium carpet or the handful of schools like Florida State who have begun rigorously enforcing copyright infringement against their logos.
Neither action seems to be made in particularly good taste … even if that new navy blue field does look plenty alluring at first glance, as it will to the 8-10,000 fans expected for the school's football opener on Friday.
"[The legal attention from Boise State] was flattering in a way that they were paying so much attention," Watson told the Press. "Like any other college, they're paying attention to their properties. They just wanted us to know what the limits are."