Dallas, Texas -- In each of the past two seasons, Southern Methodist University's (SMU) football team, nicknamed the Mustangs, earned themselves a place in the championship final and a share of the Conference USA Western Division championship.
And when the 2011 season kicks off, SMU says the Mustangs will line up on a new, championship-calibre field at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, with artificial turf underlaid with polyurethane-coated rubber granules.
SMU is installing a Mondoturf 3NX Thermo-bonded Fine Tuned Ecofill artificial turf system manufactured by Mondo, a global leader in the sports flooring market.
The Dallas-based private university wanted the new field to come from a company with a proven reputation, said Steve Orsini, SMU's director of athletics. "We wanted to make sure that the field we chose would perform at the highest level for college or professional sports."
Installation began in February and is scheduled for completion by the end of March. Mondo is installing the surface with Texas Sports Builders, a Burleson, Texas, sports construction company. The field will replace artificial turf which had reached the end of its useful life after eight years.
"We rely on the speed of the players, so we wanted a field with speed characteristics that were the most similar to natural grass," said Orsini. "The product-and the research behind it-gave us confidence that we were minimising the difference between natural grass and artificial turf."
Mondoturf's high-density infill creates a stable and uniform playing surface, and the field's impact performance and energy return are like natural turf. SMU also wanted a field that would lessen the impact of Dallas' scorching summer heat.
Ecofill is a patented, environmentally friendly, factory-manufactured polyolefin-based infill that is not made from reground tyres, which are commonly used by other artificial turf manufacturers. It retains less heat than the black rubber granules found on other artificial turf fields, says Mondo.
The backing also provides a dimensionally stable tufted turf without needing a polyurethane secondary backing.
The underlay is a prefabricated shock pad/drainage system which is made of recycled tyre granules - treated and encapsulated in polyurethane, preventing the possibility of contamination.
Mondao says the underlay compacts less than traditional systems, so the field's play and performance characteristics remain consistent throughout the entire surface, ensuring optimal play and outstanding ball action while minimising the risk of injuries to athletes, even if the infill migrates.
PIC: SMU in action (photo John McStravick).