January 28, 2010
Boise State has its infamous "Smurf Turf," and Nebraska has what it likes to call the "Sea of Red" to describe the vast crowd inside Lincoln's Memorial Stadium. As of next fall, though, neither of them will have anything on I-AA Eastern Washington, which announced plans Wednesday to install an actual field of red:
Taking a cue from Boise State's famous blue turf, Eastern Washington is planning to install an artificial red playing surface inside its football stadium. The Big Sky program's official school colors are red and white.
Former EWU star Michael Roos, now in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, has pledged $500,000 toward the "Red Turf Project.'' School officials in Cheney hope to raise additional private money and have the field installed for the 2010 season.
"There is no doubt that one of Boise State's claims to fame has been their blue turf and like it or dislike it, it has certainly brought them a tremendous amount of notoriety," EWU athletic director Bill Chaves said. "In a similar vein we have a tremendous opportunity at Eastern to do the same by differentiating ourselves with the red turf while providing a superior playing surface."
The NCAA has no provision addressing the color of playing surfaces -- at least not yet -- because it hasn't had to consider the issue outside of the relatively obscure venues at Boise State and Division II University of New Haven, which installed its own blue turf last year. If it goes through with it, then, EWU's lava motif will be breaking ground on what promises to be a run on multi-colored turf by publicity-starved schools across the country; eventually, somebody somewhere is going to go with black. (I'm looking at you, Idaho.)
Until then, Woodward Field, thy name is "Blood."