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The Antelope

Natural grass is back at Foster Field following turf backlash


UNK is saying goodbye to the plastic grass and welcoming back the natural way of things, as Foster Field will be resurfaced with natural grass this summer. 

It’s a move that Loper coaches think will give them a competitive advantage on the field. 

“I think this is what our program has been missing,” said football coach Ron Hold. “We think the increased slipping and sliding will make our team that much more elusive and dynamic.”

According to an article from the NFL Players Association’s JC Tretter, the risk of non-contact injury playing on an artificial playing surface is 28% higher than playing on a natural grass surface. These injuries include ACL tears, ankle sprains, turf toe and more. 

However, this is not why UNK is making the move back to natural grass. This is a cost-raising move for the Lopers, as it can be up to $100,000 more a year to maintain a natural grass field compared to an artificial field. 

The decision was also influenced by the quality of the surface in this year’s Super Bowl, as public outcry drew attention to the game.

“We watched the Super Bowl and thought, ‘what if we can replicate that kind of publicity for Loper athletics?’” said athletic director Bark Meower. “We think if we can have the worst playing surface in the MIAA, people will complain and generate publicity for the school.” 

The current playing surface will be removed and pieces will be sold in the Spirit Store for $100 a yard. Certain pieces, such as the Loper logo in the center of the field and the endzones, will be sold as a package deal for $1,000.

The added green space was a test run for UNK’s groundskeepers to see if they could handle the extra land to tend to. 

“They’ve done such an amazing job with all the extra grass on campus, we just knew that they could handle this task,” said UNK Chancellor Pug Dripensen. “I know our amazing team of groundskeepers will do a great job.”

Resurfacing will begin on Sept. 2, exactly one week before UNK football’s home opener to ensure that the field will be in the worst condition possible to encourage more publicity.

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