The irrational reason Texas Tech is not replacing the Jones Stadium turf


In the arms race that is modern day college football, every detail of a program matters. Whether it is the program’s amenities, the uniforms or the appearance of the stadium, college football teams are constantly under pressure to keep up with their rivals on every level.

Though it may not seem like a critical aspect of a program’s success, the appearance and look of a team’s stadium has a major impact on the perception of the program, especially in the minds of high school recruits. Therefore, the news that Texas Tech will not be replacing its current field turf playing surface is disappointing.

What makes this decision confounding is the illogical and ridiculous reason that Kliff Kingsbury wants to keep the current surface in place.

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Just a few weeks ago, Texas Tech announced that it would be replacing the field turf at Jones Stadium following this season. But at the request of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, that plan has been put on hold for at least a year.

According to The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the 10-year-old field turf will remain in place for 2016 because Kingsbury likes the speed of the current surface.

"Texas Tech Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt said, “He (Kingsbury) likes the speed of the surface. So, with that, we’ll work with our partners. It’s a FieldTurf surface, so we’ll bring FieldTurf (personnel) in to evaluate it and make sure it’s up to safety standards that are accepted. If it is, then I think we probably would look at delaying the field returfment project for one more year.” Link"

One must wonder if Kingsbury is simply being superstitious. Texas Tech averaged 59.7 points per game at home this season while scoring only 33.5 away from Jones Stadium so it is easy to see how Kingsbury could feel sentimental towards the current playing surface.

Yet, logical thought easily contradicts Kingsbury’s thinking.

When two teams play on the same surface, the impact the turf may have on the speed of players should be equal for both teams. In other words, if Jakeem Grant is the fastest player on the playing surface at Jones Stadium, he will also be the fastest player on the surface at any other stadium.

If Texas Tech were considering the installation of natural grass, Kingsbury’s concerns would be more understandable because that would be changing to a completely different type of playing surface.

But it is hard to imagine there being a significant difference in the players’ speed while playing on new turf versus playing on a 10-year-old surface.

This news has caused some fans to wonder if this decision is actually a monetary decision. Texas Tech is currently in the midst of raising funds for an indoor football practice facility and an indoor track and field complex as well as renovations to both the north and south ends of Jones Stadium. The total cost of these projects will exceed $100 million.

But the cost of installing new field turf is minimal in the world of major college athletics. In 2013, the University of Texas installed a new playing surface for under $300,000.

That amount of money is minuscule for a Big 12 football program. Texas Tech could easily afford this project and if it could not, why did Hocutt announce that the turf would be replaced in the first place?

Just as the court at the United Supermarkets Arena was upgraded with a new design to make it look more appealing, Jones Stadium needs new field turf. It is easy for television viewers to see that the current carpet is faded and worn making Texas Tech’s stadium and program appear cheap and behind the times.

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In the big picture, the appearance of the Jones Stadium turf is not as important as other aspects of the program. However, in the modern era of college football no detail can be overlooked.

Kingsbury’s thought process that the current surface is faster than a new surface is short-sided and irrational. The playing surface at Jones Stadium needs to be replaced as originally planned, despite the superstitions of the head coach.