On April 1, 2010, Louisiana State University announced that they were adding purple field turf to their stadium. It was an April Fools’ joke.
On April 1, 2011, the University of Central Arkansas announced that they were adding purple (and gray) field turf to their stadium. It was not an April Fools’ joke.
UCA decided to take a page from Boise State’s book (and you might say the took it a step further) by actually going through with this purple and gray striped field. In the weeks and months since this announcement, and as the field was installed, the field as received enormous attention from blogs and other sites.
I spent four years attending UCA, and in that time not even news of a move to D 1-AA or the football team getting the shaft from the NCAA got anywhere near the attention of this new striped field. Frankly, it was bizarre to see UCA in the news in April and just yesterday, I was shocked to see tonight’s UCA-Henderson opener listed as one of the top football games for this coming season. Is this just a publicity stunt? Of course it is, and it’s clearly working.
More small schools, and even large ones, should so stuff like this to get themselves some attention. After all, no matter how gaudy the new turf may be, there’s something cool and unique about it and I’d be more likely to go out of my way to see a game now than I would have at any point during the time I spent living in the building in the background of the above photo. It certainly can’t hurt recruiting, season ticket sales, attendance, admissions or television revenue.
As college football kicks off tonight, let’s all hope that this college football season will be more about purple fields and good football, rather than free tattoos in Columbus and prostitutes in Miami.