Morrisville State debuts all black turf football field: ‘Why not?’

All four of Morrisville State’s home games this season will be played during the middle of the day, which could make the black turf field very hot to play on. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Going with all black turf is certainly a choice.

Morrisville State announced on Tuesday that its football team will be playing on black turf at Drake Field this fall. The Mustangs are a Division III team based out of Morrisville, New York.

“As we set out to replace our old turf, we wanted to move in a bold, new direction that would give our department and student-athletes a unique identity to rally around,” Morrisville athletic director Matt Grawrock said in a statement.

“We wanted a look that reflected the institution and how we have a special campus with an education and opportunities that are different from many schools, embracing the differences that set us apart while providing a focal point for athletics that would distinguish us from our peers.”

The idea behind turf like this isn’t new. Boise State was the first school to gain recognition for its iconic blue turf field, and there have been plenty of schools that followed suit. Eastern Washington has a bright red field. Central Arkansas has a purple and grey striped field.

But the all black field feels like it could be a bit painful, if not actually dangerous, to actually play on depending on the weather and the time of day. Turf fields already trap heat more than a natural grass field does, and a black field will attract heat much quicker than a normal green field. Morrisville State will play all four of its home games this season either at noon or 1 p.m.

The university said it is aware of that added risk, and that it will simply continue to monitor its guidelines.

“In all cases our athletic training staff follows, and will continue to follow, a heat policy that was developed from the NATA best practices document and adjustments are made as needed by monitoring the universal wet bulb globe temperature,” Morrisville State said in a statement.

The Mustangs will open their season on Sept. 2 at Kean University in New Jersey. They will make their debut on the new black field on Sept. 16 against Catholic University.

“Many people may ask why we’ve put a black field out there,” Grawrock said.

“We’ve asked, why not? We have created a true home-field experience and advantage for our student-athletes. We think they’re one-of-a-kind and we wanted to give them a home venue to match.”

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