Cal Poly football players react to Spanos Stadium turf renovation

In December, Cal Poly Athletics announced that Alex G. Spanos Stadium would change playing surfaces from natural grass to FieldTurf, a move that is not popular among some players.

The $3.2 million project began in November and is expected to be completed before the spring launch event in June.

Sophomore women’s soccer midfielder Camille Lafaix was one of many Cal Poly athletes who were not supportive of the switch to artificial turf.

“I am certainly not the only one who is disgusted [the turf]“said Lafaix.

Spanos Stadium was the only venue in the Big Sky –– Cal Poly’s football conference –– that used natural grass as its playing surface. On the other hand, Spanos will now be the only venue in the Big West –– Conference of Cal Poly men’s and women’s football — which uses artificial turf.

“We are so happy to play on grass,” said Lafaix. “It’s the best surface you can play on in Division 1 as a football player, so I don’t really know how. [the turf] will be a long-term benefit.

Cal Poly men’s soccer sophomore midfielder Nathan Colley is more optimistic about the new surface and a chance for a change of scenery.

“I think the team was okay with that, but they weren’t very happy,” Colley said. “Everyone likes to play on a good grass pitch, but at the same time I think we’re going to make the most of it and it’s always a great surface to play on.”

Colley said the new change will allow all football matches to be played on a fair and true surface. A soccer field is wider than a soccer field, so conditions on natural grass are often more difficult and beaten for soccer matches after soccer matches.

One of Lafaix and Colley’s main concerns is that grass surfaces lead to more injuries. The surface is less flexible when players touch the ground, leading to more non-contact knee, foot and ankle injuries.

Athletes at all levels have expressed their displeasure with grass pitches after numerous ACL injuries to NFL players, including Odell Beckham Jr. in Super Bowl LVI.

In addition to injury concerns, Lafaix said the turf will have the football pitch marked off with black lines, which could be difficult for players to see during night games. The women’s team also plays Sunday games, which will lead to higher temperatures for the athletes on the field.

The specific turf that Spanos will be showcasing is a mix of sand and rubber infill mix, which will hopefully cushion some of the athletes’ falls.

“We are always excited when we play [at Spanos] and regardless of the surface, it’s exciting to have our season ahead,” said Colley.

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