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Archive for Tuesday, September 10, 1996

GRASS AT KUMAYBE

September 10, 1996

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Back in 1970, Kansas was in the vanguard of schools that changed the surface in their football stadiums from grass to artificial turf.

Now it appears Kansas may be among the last to switch back to grass ... or prescription athletic turf, as it is now known.

KU football coach Glen Mason estimated it will be at least three or four years -- "Maybe longer than that." -- before Kansas is forced to replace the artificial turf in Memorial Stadium.

"This is the seventh year we've been playing on that surface and it's still excellent," Mason said Monday.

Nevertheless, Mason conceded there are no guarantees when it comes to ersatz grass.

"Once you pass Year Seven it's a crap shoot. That's what I've been told," Mason said. "They can go from good to bad in the blink of an eye."

Many Big 12 schools have switched to grass, including Texas and Iowa State this season, yet Mason isn't absolutely a grass advocate.

"They've done surveys and I think they've found there as many injuries on artificial turf as grass," he said.

KU quarterback Ben Rutz, for example, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while playing on artificial turf, but Mason noted that his son Patrick suffered the same injury while playing on grass.

Young Mason was injured while playing in the offensive line for Lawrence High. Mason's son gave up football when he enrolled at KU as a freshman last month, but he's working in the football equipment room.

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