In today’s editions of Northwest Arkansas Newspapers, you can find my story where Bentonville is about to accept bids to put down new turf playing surfaces at Tiger Stadium and the Tiger Athletic Complex’s soccer field.
Both fields will be the traditional green, although I did tease athletic director Scott Passmore about a first of its kind field — gold with black Tiger stripes! Imagine something like that, if you will.
I found one even a little crazier today. Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane, Utah, has a full-length logo between the hash marks that is black with gold diamonds (its mascot is the Diamondback, and it sports a snake’s head at midfield) that it installed in 2012.
But what if Bentonville (or any other school, for that matter) had decided to break away from the ordinary green? Let’s say Fayetteville wants a purple field, or Springdale Har-Ber, Rogers High or Rogers Heritage desires to break out its shade of blue the next time it replaces the turf field?
What if Cabot, which played Bentonville in the Class 7A state title game, wanted to stray from green and put down red turf when it resurfaces this stadium this summer?
A word of advice: the first thing any school who wants to venture into that idea better get approval from the people that first brought something other than traditional green playing surfaces into play.
Boise State — the founders of what people like to call the “Smurf Turf” — actually owns the trademark to all non-green turf surfaces. Rachel Bickerton, the director of trademark licensing and enforcement at Boise State, said the university did it not to make money, but to protect its uniqueness, but it can issue licenses to those desiring to go with a non-green surface.
She told Chad Cripe, a reporter with the Idaho Statesmen, that she has issued 30 licenses for non-green turf surfaces, including one to Eastern Washington for its “blood red” turf. Of those 30 licenses, 17 of them were for blue or navy fields, and those were given to mainly high schools or elementary schools.
The University of New Haven installed blue turf before Boise State earned its federal trademark registration, and Bickerton said a license was given to Hosei University in Japan. Yale, Massachusetts-Lowell and the University of New England all received licenses for blue turf on its hockey fields — a common sight since London did it during the 2012 Olympics.
Some high schools have decided to join in on this phenomenon. Cathy Parker Field in Barrow, Alaska, and Wildcats Stadium in Lovington, N.M., have sported blue fields since 2007. Hidalgo (Texas) Academy and West Salem, Ore., feature black turf at their stadiums, while Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas, and Orchard Park (Mich.) St. Mary’s Prep have red fields.
The most unique (besides Diamond Ranch Academy, of course) belongs to West Hills High in Santee, Calif. Its two-tone field alternates between royal blue and sky blue every 5 yards, much like the purple and gray field does at Central Arkansas’ Estes Stadium.
Not everybody who wants a blue field will get such a thing. Bickerton said five requests have been denied or schools elected to not go through with the process.
Brevard High School in North Carolina found that out in March when Boise State denied its request for blue turf at its stadium. The school even collected $19,000 in private funds in hopes for the new look, only to be turned down — mainly because it shares its field with Brevard College, an NCAA Division II member.
Any other color appears to be safe, except for one — orange, simply because it’s one of Boise State’s school colors, as well.
“In general, when it’s another color, we do approve it,” Bickerton said. “If a big school wants to put an orange field in, because it’s one of our colors, I can’t necessarily say we’d say yes.”