Memorial Stadium is all gussied up for 2013 with a new look on its east side. But what about the playing surface? Is change coming?
Soon perhaps. The question still remains whether it will be as soon as this year.
According to John Ingram, Nebraska's associate athletic director for capital planning and construction, the topic of potentially replacing the stadium's turf will be part of upcoming 2014 budget discussions.
And since the 2014 fiscal year begins in July, it remains possible the current turf could be replaced before the upcoming season.
“While our field has held up well, we will discuss the possibility of replacing the Memorial Stadium FieldTurf, along with many other potential capital projects for 2014, during budget discussions," Ingram said. "But no final decisions have been made at this time.”
The current FieldTurf was installed before the 2005 season.
The average life span of such a field is about 10 years, according to Ingram.
FieldTurf's website claims it has more than 500 fields that have lasted eight years or longer. The Detroit Lions, for instance, just replaced the FieldTurf at Ford Field after using the surface for 11 seasons.
Nebraska is on its second round of FieldTurf, after becoming the first college to use the synthetic grass-like surface in 1999.
The first FieldTurf surface in Memorial Stadium was in place six years before being replaced, though officials said at the time it perhaps could have lasted a couple more years.
FieldTurf has become widely used by other universities, high schools and some NFL teams since it was first installed at Nebraska. When the surface was replaced at Memorial Stadium in 2005, it represented the FieldTurf company's 4,000th installation of the surface.
Nebraska had a good deal in 1999, getting the initial installation done at the stadium and Cook Pavilion for $248,000. The company lowered the price in exchange for taking home the old AstroTurf, which it cut up and sold as mementos.
The going rate for replacing such a surface varies, by how well the base of the field has held up. But as a relatively recent local example, the replacement of the FieldTurf at Seacrest Field in 2010 was said to cost about $412,000.
As for Memorial Stadium, it's seen many different playing surfaces in its time.
The old stadium featured a grass surface from its opening in 1923 through the 1969 season. Then came Astro-Turf, which was installed in 1970 and replaced in 1977. Artificial All-Pro Turf was installed in 1984 before being replaced with the Astro-turf-8 system in 1992.
Even the FieldTurf changed design slightly, with the replacement turf in 2005 being two-toned, with alternating shades of green every five yards.
Granted, the striped look had been done before. That two-toned look, Husker officials have said, is a nod to the look of the grass fields from the Devaney years.