Ducks Choose New Surface for Autzen Stadium

Jan. 22, 2001

EUGENE - NeXturfTM, a revolutionary synthetic surface consisting of a dual fiber technology and rubber granule base, has been selected to be installed in the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium in time for the start of the 2001 season, according to the Ducks' Director of Athletics Bill Moos.

The new turf, a product of Southwest Recreational Industries, Inc., based in Leander, Texas, and manufactured in Dalton, Ga., will replace the current surface which has remained in place since 1991. It becomes the fifth artificial surface to be installed in the 34-year history of the stadium since athletic department officials converted from natural grass prior to the 1969 season, and the first time a synthetic product other than OmniTurf has been utilized in Autzen Stadium since 1983.

'We have evaluated every product on the market and judged them for their durability, playability, safety and speed,' said Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti. 'After looking at all these factors, we came to the conclusion that this is the most functional surface for our stadium that should be very conducive to excellent performances. This is the latest in the line of synthetic surfaces that offers the best principles of natural grass in an artificial surface.'

The product utilizes a patent-pending system known as PeXlonTM, which consists of one-inch polyethylene fibers extending above the surface to simulate the grass-like blades, along with shorter texturized fibers knitted together below the surface to create a stronger, more durable fabric that closely resembles natural grass in appearance, texture and performance. A one-half inch layer of green rubber granules is then spread throughout the turf. The result is a non-abrasive surface that offers better footing and comfort for the athletes, yet is easy to maintain.

The turf is laid over a one-and-a-half inch layer of bonded rubber granules installed over an existing asphalt foundation.

Although Autzen Stadium will become the first collegiate facility in the country to utilize this new product, it has already been implemented in the Atlanta Falcons' training facility, with further announcements regarding future installations scheduled for later this winter.

Oregon's strength and conditioning coach, Jim Radcliffe, as well as Mike Wagner, who is in charge of maintaining all of the athletic department's football and women's soccer fields, conducted extensive research of all available options and visited eight different sites utilizing various products since June before endorsing the chosen product.

'We developed an evaluation consisting of 10 to 12 factors, with my main imput relating to the impact on our athletes,' Radcliffe said. 'I was able to take a full run and slide on the surface and received no abrasions at all, which is unlike any other artificial surface we have been on. It also is a fast surface so it is resilient although not too soft, yet it could take a pounding without suffering any negative effects.'

After put together in its Georgia facility, NeXturfTM will be installed this spring following the removal of the existing OmniTurf. The timeline for completion of the project is late June.

Due to the expansion of the university's football facility following the 2001 season, the turf will be removed during the construction to reduce damage and then reinstalled during the summer of 2002.

The estimated cost of the project, which includes the initial installation, removal and reinstallation, is $1.35 million.

The school's alternating two-tone color scheme every five yards, for which the Ducks have become synonymous, will continue with the new turf. Yard lines, end lines and sidelines will be inlaid into the field during the initial year while all other markings will be painted during the first season. After the reinstallation, all markings will be inlaid into the turf.

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