Maryland football field will stay green

The Baltimore Sun

The new, synthetic Byrd Stadium football and lacrosse field won’t be red, black or pewter.

It will approximate the same color of the natural grass dug up weeks ago — green.

Maryland on Wednesday released renderings that dispelled any notions — the subject of speculation on fan sites — that the field would be one of the colors that appear on Terps’ uniforms. Black was a popular guess.

The FieldTurf Revolution surface will be green between the goal lines. The end zones will be red, white, black and gold in a design reminiscent of the state flag and of the Maryland Pride uniforms unveiled last season.

“Maryland” will appear at midfield in large, red lettering.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank had said in a recent interview that Maryland wanted the “coolest field in the country.” It wasn’t entirely clear what Plank meant until the school provided details on Wednesday. Under Armour is a branding consultant on the project.

The FieldTurf will work with a heat-reducing technology called “CoolPlay.”

The school said the technology, together with silica sand and cryogenic rubber, will keep the temperature down. “FieldTurf has done extensive temperature testing which shows that CoolPlay infill provides for a difference of up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit versus traditional rubber infill systems,” Maryland said in a written statement.

The field upgrade is part of a series of improvements to Byrd Stadium, which opened in 1950. In 2009, the school unveiled a $50.8 million expansion that included luxury suites and new mezzanine seating.

The privately financed field upgrade is also part of a “rebranding” effort that has been underway for more than a year. Maryland isn’t phasing “Terps” out, but it is trying to create a stronger link to “Maryland.”

There are increasing references to the state — and to the state flag — in athletic facilities and on equipment and uniforms.

Maryland said the new field would help with recruiting and would aid the university’s ability to attract outside events to campus.

Fans began to react to the news Wednesday afternoon after The Sun wrote an online story about the green field before the announcement. “Good news!” tweeted one. “Oh well, I was pumped for black field,” tweeted another.

The old field had drainage issues. Plank said recently that the field turned into a “mud bowl” during last season’s Boston College game in October.

The natural grass has all been dug up, and the field is a mass of pipes and other materials.

The project is expected to be completed before the football season opens on Sept. 1 against William & Mary.

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