The Turfgrass Information Center, of the Michigan State University Libraries, is pleased to announce the arrival of a major donation of turfgrass industry materials from the family of the late Dr. James R. Watson. Included are a wide range of materials with hundreds of monographs, including university extension publications and bulletins, as well as 2,000+ issues of periodical titles, and assorted handwritten notes, loose articles, project binders, corporate-related papers, advertisements, commercial items, business correspondence, and personal papers. Dr. Watson’s materials also came with a few dozen boxes of slides and photographic materials, which could well be of significance to the history of the discipline.
Dr. Watson (1920-2013) was known for a variety of turfgrass-related accomplishments, both nationally and internationally. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1947 from Texas A&M University and in 1950 earned his doctorate from Penn State University. After graduating, he became an assistant professor at Texas A&M before joining the Toro Company in 1952 as the Director of Agronomy. Dr. Watson was responsible during that time for leading a team of 25 researchers, and establishing test plots. The area where these tests were conducted is now known as the Dr. James R. Watson Research & Development Proving Grounds. By the end of his illustrious career at the Toro Company, Dr. Watson retired not only with the title of Vice President of Agronomy, but also having led the way in turfgrass research for adaptability of species and cultivars, fertilization practices, equipment development, snow mold prevention, and water management research, to name a few focal interests.
Following retirement, Dr. Watson acted as a consultant to both the Toro Company and the turfgrass industry as a whole. He was the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the United States Golf Association’s Green Section Award in 1976, the first recipient of the Crop Society of America’s Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award in 1987, the Old Tom Morris Award from GCSAA in 1995, the USGA Green Section’s Piper and Oakley Award in 1998, and the USGA’s Ike Grainger Award in 2009.
Those throughout the industry agree that he was a man with vision and knowledge, revered as a pioneer in turfgrass science, and that turfgrass science has been made considerably better thanks to his extensive efforts over the years. A dedicated turfgrass researcher, Dr. Watson passed away on October 1st, 2013 at the age of 92.
For a list of materials by or about Dr. James R. Watson as currently indexed within the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database, see: http://www.lib.msu.edu/cgi-bin/flinkss.pl?srch=docwatson1013
The Watson materials join the O. J. Noer Memorial Turfgrass Collection at Michigan State University. The Noer Collection and the James B Beard Turfgrass Library Collection form the strongest single public collection of turfgrass related content in the world. Records for items within the Watson materials have already started to appear within the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database, and originals are available for consulting use within the Turfgrass Information Center at MSU.
Special thanks are due to the Watson family for making this donation, and to the Toro Company for facilitating this transfer.
About the Turfgrass Information Center The Turfgrass Information Center is a specialized unit at the Michigan State University Libraries, comprised of the O.J. Noer Memorial Turfgrass Collection and the James B Beard Turfgrass Library Collection, and contains the most comprehensive publicly available collection of turfgrass educational materials in the world. The Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database is produced by the Turfgrass Information Center. Using the Collections as a foundation, TGIF is designed to identify and point to turf research and management resources, online and offline, along with full-text versions of materials when copyright permissions can be obtained. For further information about the Collections, the TGIF database, or the associated digital archives, see the Center’s website at: https://tic.msu.edu/.
At least two sports are all but certain to be on the chopping block at the University of North Dakota.
A list presented to the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee on Monday identified eight athletics programs that could be cut: soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s golf.
The committee asked the UND Athletics Department to run scenarios for what it would look like if it had 16, 17 or 18 sports at medium or high funding levels. This would reflect the elimination of two to four of the university’s existing sports programs.
Those scenarios will be presented to the committee at its Oct. 17 meeting.
At next week’s meeting, scheduled for Oct. 11, the eight head coaches from the programs that could be cut will give presentations to the committee and UND President Mark Kennedy.
“I think in the spirit of collaboration and being open and having good conversations, that’s the right thing to do,” said committee Chairwoman Kimberly Kenville. “There’s things you can’t tell by a spreadsheet, and you have to talk to people about it. So I think it’s really important the coaches have the opportunity to talk to the committee and the president.”
Kennedy has asked the committee to examine the athletics department’s financing, its conference affiliation, the number of sports it sponsors and the number of athletes it has on campus. He asked for the group’s recommendation by Nov. 1, though Kennedy has said he will make any final decisions himself.
The 18-member committee of the University Senate is made up of UND faculty members, athletics department staff, alumni, students, a head coach and athletes.
Twelve sports were previously identified as programs UND is committed to sponsoring. Football, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s track and field and cross country all appear to be safe from the chopping block.
That list was given to Kenville in a previous meeting with Kennedy and Athletics Director Brian Faison, Kenville said. There was no discussion at Monday’s IAC meeting about the eight sports listed as potentially being cut.
Baseball and men’s golf were cut in April as part of state-mandated and university-wide budget reductions. Men’s golf was later reinstated for fiscal 2017 and 2018 after the program raised money to keep it operational.
While eight sports are on the list, not all can be cut if UND wants to maintain its standing in the Big Sky Conference. Men’s and women’s tennis and women’s golf are all considered core sports by the conference.
Also on Monday, the committee voted to provide Kennedy and the university a chance to explore alternative conference affiliation. The motion passed 14-1-1, with committee members Eric Murphy dissenting and Thomasine Heitkamp abstaining. Two committee members were absent from Monday’s meeting.
In previous meetings, the committee has discussed the possibility of UND moving to the Summit League. A move to that league would require the university to sponsor only seven sports: men’s and women’s basketball plus five additional core sports that UND can choose.- by Wade Rupard, The Bismarck Tribune
Washington State University is doing a lot of things to dig the athletics department out of its $50.7 million hole.
It will kick in more from the central university budget. It is banking on the proceeds from still-unapproved stadium beer sales. It is budgeting for increased ticket sales and donations and planning to ask students to pay an additional $100 a year.
One of the things it’s not doing: cutting athletics spending.
That’s right. Students are being asked to pay more and the university will contribute more, but no one in athletics will spend appreciably less. Other conference schools are outspending WSU on sports, you see, and must be kept up with.
I thought surely this couldn’t be true – the football team must be getting rid of one of its team chefs or something, just for the sake of appearances. But when I asked about detailed budget cuts in athletics, as opposed to comments about “belt-tightening,” I was assured that the plan was to raise more money, not spend less.
“Yes, revenue is the focus,” said Joan King, a WSU assistant vice president and budget czar.
How does this affect other university operations? King said it does not – that no professor went unhired, no academic department lost money, no student program was cut to cover the cost of an assistant coach’s bowl bonus. But the university is carrying a big note from athletics.
WSU athletics has compiled a $50.7 million deficit, as of the end of fiscal 2016, largely the result of expensive upgrades to the football facilities in combination with lower-than-expected TV revenues. Athletics began operating in the red in fiscal year 2011 – Bill Moos’ first year as athletic director – and it has accumulated ever since, running about $13 million in each of the past three years.
New President Kirk Schulz made a little noise earlier this year when he pointed out that this could not continue. He sent a letter to campus announcing that tighter budget times were coming, and he noted that athletics had been launching off on expensive projects without a clear sense of how they would be paid for. It was, reading between the lines, a spend-first, ask-questions-later approach.
According to the university’s plan to get sports back in the black, the shortfall is expected to exceed $66 million by the end of fiscal year 2019, after which athletics is expected to reach balance and begin repaying the deficit.
But that plan, presented to the board of regents last month, is full of contingencies (and it’s worth remembering that in 2014, WSU predicted athletics would be back in the black by 2017).
Notably, it outlines a student fee that would have to be approved by a vote of the student body, which seems at least uncertain. Officials have described this $100 annual fee as “modest.” The plan also relies on stadium beer sales in the current fiscal year – when such sales still have not been approved by the state and football season is well underway.
There is also a definite hopefulness in the calculations: they rely upon increasing ticket sales and increased fundraising, starting with an additional $1.3 million in the current fiscal year through $2.3 million in 2021.
Deficit spending as a ladder to the big time arrived with athletic director Moos in 2010, and the late President Elson Floyd apparently backed the decision to spend with more vigor than rigor. The sense of little-brotherism in WSU sports is pronounced, and there was a full buy-in, it seems, on the notion that the Cougs must catch up with the bigger spenders at literally all costs.
Since fiscal 2010, athletics spending rose by 89 percent. Revenues have also risen, but by just 49 percent. In 2016, athletics took in 78 cents for every dollar it spent. Still, Moos likes to point out how little WSU spends compared to other programs.
King, the assistant vice president, says the university is not bailing out athletics. For budgeting purposes, a deficit in the athletics department is offset by surpluses in other areas of the budget – bringing the overall WSU budget into balance. But King said no department actually loses surplus funds as a result of this, and the deficit does not go away.
In the highly complex scheme of university budgeting – with money coming in from scores of different sources on different timelines, and going out to scores of different programs, campuses and “areas” – the university is able to balance its overall budget without robbing programs to cover areas that are in the red, of which athletics is the largest.
“There is never a situation where we take money from a college and give it to athletics,” she said.
Still, the university will contribute more to sports in the years to come. Starting in 2018, it will pay $300,000 to operate the president’s box at Martin Stadium, since it’s such an important tool for overall university fundraising. The university will also start kicking in $900,000 a year for facilities operations, given that non-athletes use some of the athletic facilities, too.
In fiscal 2019, the university will take over academic support expenses to the tune of $1.1 million, and in 2020 it will pick up $1million for conference dues.
If all goes according to plan, athletics will post a $1.2 million surplus in 2021 – almost as big as the one that existed back when Moos first arrived in Pullman.- by Shawn Vestal, Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
The Propane Education & Research Council reopened online applications for the Propane Mower Incentive Program. Since it began in 2012, the program has helped commercial propane mower operators save up to $1,000 on the purchase of a new unit, and that’s without factoring in the long-term benefits of using propane.
“The incentive helps landscape contractors save on the upfront cost of a new propane mower, but the long-term savings contractors benefit from when operating a propane fleet can be tremendous, too,” said Jeremy Wishart, deputy director of business development at PERC. “Compared to gasoline and diesel equipment, propane mowers can not only reduce a contractor’s ongoing fuel costs, but they can also lead to less maintenance-related downtime. Beyond being a unique sales tool for equipment dealers and propane retailers, the incentive helps more contractors experience propane’s long-term benefits as well.”
With the Propane Mower Incentive Program, landscape contractors, facilities managers, municipal fleet directors — and even homeowners — can apply for incentives of $1,000 for the purchase of a new propane mower, or $500 to convert an existing machine with a qualified conversion kit.
Throughout the life of the program, more than 4,000 gasoline mowers have been swapped out of fleets in favor of propane across 43 states. Applications for more than 600 mower purchases and conversions were received during the last iteration of the program, which ran from October 2015 to April 2016.
Contractors who have switched their fleets to propane reported, on average, a 30 percent savings on the annual cost of fuel alone, on top of savings from the incentives. Many also reported that propane saved them time and money on refueling compared to the wasted time at gas stations and potential for fuel loss through spills, pilferage or degradation.
For equipment dealers, the Propane Mower Incentive Program also offers an easy way to introduce the topic of propane to customers looking to replace equipment at the end of the season. Dealers interested in offering incentive program materials to customers or in learning more about selling propane equipment can visit propane.com/commercial-landscape/propane-equipment-dealers.
Visit propane.com/mower-incentive to apply for the program. Contractors wanting to research the financial savings they might incur when switching to propane equipment can use PERC’s free Propane Mower Calculator at propanecostcalculator.com.
Toro is pleased to announce the 15th annual Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program. In January 2017, one lucky turfgrass science student will travel to Houston, Texas, to help the grounds crew prepare the field for the biggest game in football. With an extensive history of supporting student scholarships and educational activities, Toro and the National Football League (NFL) grounds crew are proud to offer this unique learning experience.
Toro equipment and representatives have been involved in helping prepare the stadium and practice fields for the Super Bowl for almost 50 years. Starting with the inaugural World Championship in 1967, the NFL grounds crew has relied on Toro for its expertise and equipment in preparing the game field and multiple practice facilities. In 2002, the organizations partnered to establish the Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program. Through the Sports Turf Training Program, Toro and the NFL’s Super Bowl grounds team collaborate to offer a program aimed at enhancing the skills of emerging sports turf professionals. This program provides hands-on experience in establishing and maintaining some of the best playing surfaces in the world. This year’s recipient will work alongside NFL field director, Ed Mangan, George Toma, and the Super Bowl grounds crew at NRG Stadium on turf maintenance, logo painting, field preparation for media day, halftime preparation and field cleanup. Beginning on January 28, 2017, the winner will be on hand at NRG Stadium preparing the field leading up to the game on February 5, 2017.
To be considered for the program, applicants must complete and submit an application form, as well as a 500-word typed essay, describing the applicant’s professional goals. A reference and résumé are also required.
Entries must be received by October 21, 2016. Applicants must be enrolled in at least the second year of a two-year turf program, or in at least the junior year of a four-year turf program. The application must include the contact information of a school advisor or representative, as well.
STMA is pleased to announce that the documentary film, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, has been released through the Media Education Foundation. STMA contributed financial and other resources to the creation of the film, which was produced by Jo Films. This project has been in development since 2009. Congratulations to STMA member Nicole McFayden on being a great role model for female students. STMA will have the full film accessible soon on its YouTube channel.
Administrators, facility managers, athletic directors, coaches, and sports turf managers are responsible for providing safe, playable athletic facilities for all athletes. STMA’s Information Outreach Committee has produced a bulletin for the public to understand what causes unsafe conditions on an athletic field, as well as tips to help combat unsafe conditions. Click here to access the bulletin and distribute it to your users and supervisors. Being familiar with common hazards on sports fields can help reduce liability and the possibility of athlete injuries.
What do turf managers, farmers and weekend gardeners have in common? For one, they all share a strong dislike of weeds. Whether you’re a professional or amateur, nothing can ruin your day like a weed. Worse yet, no matter how you try to control this pesky green invader, it just keeps coming back for more. Fortunately, there is help available to help you get things under control. The University of Tennessee Weed Diagnostics Center (UTWDC) is there to help identify weeds and screen them for herbicide resistance. This initiative, supported by UT AgResearch and UT Extension, provides end-users with diagnostic tests tailored to weeds in a variety of settings.
“Our aim is to provide a broad spectrum of services to both professional and consumer clientele,” said Dr. Jim Brosnan, Associate Professor of Turfgrass Weed Science at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. “Our tests are tailored to weeds of crop production systems as well as turf, ornamentals and urban landscapes,” he said. Brosnan heads up UTWDC and sees it as a valuable service not only in Tennessee but across the United States as well. He says that it’s important to have weeds tested to help keep them under control and then use the diagnostic results to implement optimal management strategies. “All UTWDC test results are complimented with research-based control recommendations to promote proper weed management in the field,” said Brosnan. “We’ll also complement the ongoing disease and plant diagnostic efforts at UTIA’s Soil, Plant and Pest Center in Nashville,” he said.
Employing both whole-plant and molecular methods, specialists at UTWDC provide a wide range of diagnostic services from basic weed identification to herbicide resistance tests using DNA screening. “We’re looking to provide an all-inclusive service for our clients that’s cost-effective and helps them conserve financial and technological resources,” said Brosnan.
More information about UTWDC, including services and pricing can be found online at www.weeddiagnostics.org. You can also follow the center on Twitter (@WeedDiagnostics) and Instagram (@weeddiagnostics).
Registration for the 2017 Sports Turf Managers Association Conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort opened October 1. Take advantage of the lowest registration rates by registering online. Go to STMA.org, log in at the top of the page, go to the shopping cart and click on 2017 Conference Registration. All of the options for the conference will appear for you to complete the registration. Don’t forget to reserve your hotel as rooms are nearly sold out.
Don’t delay. All awards applications (Field of the Year, Founders, Innovative Awards) and scholarship and grants applications (Leo Goertz Membership Grant, Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant, Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant, and all scholarship applications) are due electronically on October 15. Click the links for each program for more information and find the appropriate application forms.
STMA, in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Project EverGreen and Exmark Manufacturing, is sponsoring the “Our Winning Green Space” contest to give parks & recreation and public works departments a chance to win a top-of-the-line Exmark Lazer Z X-Series mower package, valued at $15,000, and a “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” renovation project for their city.
Municipalities can submit an essay and photos online declaring why their city deserves the new equipment and renovated playing field, and how it will assist them in maintaining a healthier, safer area for kids to play. Submissions can be made at www.ProjectEverGreen.org from September 12 through November 1, 2016, and the winner will be announced in early December.
Preservationists are mobilizing to save a unique steel grain elevator complex that has stood beside the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus for more than a century.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota recently called on its supporters to urge the university’s Board of Regents not to approve demolition of the Electric Steel Elevator. The complex sits just east of TCF Bank Stadium, and the university hopes to move a recreational sports dome and baseball field there.
The regents are expected to vote on the demolition Oct. 13.
The defining feature of the 4.7-acre property is its group of 32 steel grain silos, experimental precursors to the concrete silos that later became synonymous with Twin Cities milling architecture. They were built between 1901 and 1914.
“There’s a lot of things about the grain elevators that speak to our origins as a state and also our origins as a city in Minneapolis,” said Erin Hanafin Berg with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.
The likely razing of the property is also somewhat unusual because the City Council voted in 2015 to block demolition there and give the properties temporary protection pending a historic designation study. That study was never finished, however, and the protection expired Sept. 12.
“It concerns me – [the city] dropping the ball,” said Eric Amel, an architect living in the Prospect Park neighborhood who has spearheaded preservation efforts.
City spokesman Casper Hill said “there was not enough resources” to complete the study.
The university does not have to apply for land use approvals for this project – such as a demolition permit – because it has authority over construction on university property, said Monique MacKenzie, the U’s director of planning and space.
Amel sees the steel elevators as distinct from concrete elevators elsewhere.
“They represent an era of experimentation, trying to get away from wood elevators that were more combustible,” Amel said.
He said they could be reused for a variety of purposes, including data storage, a heat and energy plant, or student housing.
But a study by university found that “due to the property’s unique construction and advanced age, it is a poor candidate for any adaptive reuse that would be consistent with the University’s needs,” according to a staff report submitted to the regents. The report said the U intends to donate historically important components of the property to the Mill City Museum.
Another problem: The elevator has been attracting urban explorers.
Despite safety measures, “the property continues to present a public safety hazard and remains a magnet for trespassers and vandals,” the report said.
A man hoping to turn a grain elevator at Hiawatha Avenue and 41st Street into apartments is now mulling self-storage instead – because of the expense of turning it into housing.
Project for Pride in Living has proposed converting the Como area’s Bunge elevator into apartments.- by Eric Roper, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Three federal agencies have released a research protocol for their study evaluating the safety of recycled crumb rubber used in athletic fields and playgrounds.
The 251-page protocol—released jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission—follows the joint action plan the agencies released in February 2016 to evaluate the health and environmental effects of chemicals released by crumb rubber in the ground.
Several studies already exist that examine the possible effects of exposure to crumb rubber infill, the protocol states in its executive summary.
“While, in general, these studies have not provided evidence for these health concerns, the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate all aspects of exposure associated with these use scenarios,” the summary said.
According to the summary, the research protocol is designed to implement three crucial research elements described in the action plan. These are:
- Conducting a literature review and data gaps analysis;
- Performing tire crumb rubber characterization research; and
- Performing human exposure characterization research.
The literature review and data gaps analysis is an important component of the action plan and necessary to guiding both near-term and longer-term research, according to the summary.
The tire crumb rubber characterization study will involve the collection of crumb rubber from recycling plants and synthetic turf fields across the U.S., it said. The study will include laboratory analysis of a wide range of metals, volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds found in tires, it said.
The exposure characterization study is a pilot-scale effort to collect information on the activities of synthetic turf field users that affect potential exposures to crumb rubber constituent materials, the summary said.
It also will involve a human exposure measurement study to further develop and deploy appropriate sample collection methods and the generation of data for improved exposure characterization, it said.
The agencies plan to issue a draft status report before the end of 2016, summarizing the progress of the research and identifying substances of concern in recycled tire crumb, the EPA said in a press release.
The joint federal research study is concurrent with two other crumb rubber research projects. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment began a study of possible chemical exposures from crumb rubber in 2015, and the European Commission called on the European Chemicals Agency to assess potential risks from crumb rubber in the early summer of 2016.
Sprinkling a lawn is a great way to waste water, and it’s even worse when you’re in a dry place like Los Angeles. With that in mind, LA’s Turf Removal Program, which gave rebates to people who replaced their lawns with synthetic turf, seems like a great idea.
So why has the rebate just been banned? Because covering your land with plastic grass isn’t much different from covering it with a plastic sheet when it comes to preventing much-needed rainwater from soaking into the ground.
Fake turf causes runoff, which literally sends water down the drain, which is why it has been removed from the requirements to get the $1.75-per-square-foot rebate. Instead, LA’s Department of Water and Power now focuses on getting rainwater into the ground, and planting plants that will use it wisely.
In addition to this effective outlawing of synthetic turf, the program has made some other changes. For starters, it now requires 50% coverage (up from 40%) of California Friendly plants (plants which need little water or other resource-heavy maintenance), limits the amount of rock or gravel that can be used to 25% of the project area (down from 60%), and requires rainfall-capture techniques in designs. The limits on rocks minimize the “heat-island” effect, lowering the surface temperature on a property by not capturing and storing the sun’s energy. Plastic turf also retains more heat than regular soil, and the elimination of these two heat retainers should also reduce the need for air conditioning.
It’s a smart change that tweaks existing rules to better serve their purpose. Gardens require less water and maintenance, and they help to cool the city, but they also contribute to LA’s future, because the water that soaks into the ground helps feed aquifers. And because the changes are a part of a program that pays people to take part, there’s very little room for complaint. It’s win-win. Now, if only LA could do something about its cars.
When Futbol Club Cincinnati moved into the home of the Bearcats, Nippert Stadium, a couple provisions needed to take place to turn it from a football field to a soccer field.
One of the changes FC Cincinnati made was the turf.
The soccer club installed new turf with soccer lines made of washable paint, in place of what was already in the stadium.
Before this replacement, Nippert’s turf had never been switched as it was a permanent football field, but now the entire field will not have to be switched again as FC Cincinnati’s turf will also be used for Bearcat and high school football games.
However, this does not mean sections of the field’s turf will not ever be replaced again.
Andre Seoldo, University of Cincinnati’s associate athletics director for facilities and operations, said UBU Sports ― a company that specializes in sports surfacing ― provides a crew of eight people to come and switch turf inserts from soccer-mode to football-mode. The inserts are located in the end zones and centerfield.
In addition, Seoldo said they partner with Pioneer Athletics to remove the lines from one sport and paint lines for the other.
In order to be sure the surface is playable for game day, the whole process can take some time.
“We’ve only done the initial one so far, which is when we had to put in regular turf. It takes some extra time the first time because you have to add the rubber and the sand,” Seoldo said. “So this is the first time we are doing it with the turf complete basically, we’re going through the process now, we predict it’s going to take somewhere between 24 and 36 hours to complete the job, and that’s with good weather and no snafus.”
What could be seen as the most important steps in the transition of the field is not until after the new turf inserts are laid.
According to Synthetic Turf Council’s official site, turf is manufactured in panels or rolls and each piece should be attached to the next with a seam to form the fabric of the field.
Once the turf is transitioned over, all the seams have to be checked to make sure the surface is safe, said Seoldo.
In addition to the seams, the lining of the field is also important.
“The lining of the field is obviously critical,” Seoldo said. “When we installed the turf we actually had them put, what is called, tick marks in, that designates where certain lines are, just points for the painters to go off of so they’re not constantly having to measure.”
One noticeable difference that will be seen on the turf during football games this year is the new designs of the end zones.
“Our design team within our athletic department had several ideas for a new end zone graphic,” Seoldo said. “They worked to come up with a final product and UBU manufactured it.”
Television ratings are down in the NFL, and though it won’t affect the league’s revenue – the existing deals the league has with the networks are set through 2022 – officials are concerned about the slight decreases across the board.
After all, the NFL is a TV show. Live gates become less and less important as attendance at NFL games continues to drop, and home experience – big screen HD televisions, no parking or crowd issues – becomes a better option.
But if the better option – watching at home – begins to decline as well, that gets the attention of the NFL, though they won’t tell you that.
The NFL Players Association president, though, has come out and said, yes, it’s got everyone’s attention.
“This is a huge issue for us obviously,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told Pro Football Talk Live. “We spend a lot of time looking at trends. I was thrilled to see the game being streamed on Twitter. We’re interested about where media is going. Viewership is an important issue, stadium attendance is a very important issue to us. So as we look forward knowing that there are a couple of television contracts that are going to come up. I think it is smart for us to look at the impact of whether fans are watching on TV or not.
“I’m sure there after people at the networks who are trying to figure out whether or not there’s going to be labor peace in 2021 and how that affects the TV contracts that they’re entering into,” Smith said.
Yes, the NFL’s whole experiment with Twitter is all about chasing the viewers -mostly millennials – who are consuming TV in a non-traditional way. According to the web site Lost Remote, viewership on apps and computers continues to rise, while the decline continues overall on traditional TV viewing.
The NFL faces serious challenges – embarrassing off-the-field headlines, shifting cultural attitudes toward the sport and still no adequate answer to concerns over player safety. But watching the game itself is not going to be one of those problems.
By the time the NFL is signing new television contracts in 2022, there could be a whole new world ready to consume the NFL – and more mountains of money for the league.
I’m sure many of you have been on Interstate 95 on a Sunday afternoon somewhere between Boston and Richmond – often a 500-mile parking lot.
Now imagine all those cars driving themselves – with passengers who have nothing to do.
Driverless cars – referred to as “user-operated autonomous cars” – will be a game-changer for all of us, not just the NFL.
“Imagine a highway full of autonomous cars with their occupants sitting back watching their favorite TV shows in high definition,” Anders Tylman, general manager of Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, said at the CES global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show in January, according to the web site robotictrends.com. “His new way of commuting will demand new technology, and a much broader bandwidth to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.”
For most people in this country, their favorite TV show is the NFL.
“If you want to watch the latest episode of your favorite series, the car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly,” Tylman said. “With autonomous drive it is no longer just a question of just getting from A to B quickly – it’s about the experience you wish to have in the car – how you wish to spend the time you are saving. With our future autonomous drive technology we will provide people with the freedom to choose the way they would like to commute and the content they would like to experience.”
This “future autonomous drive technology” is right in the NFL’s wheelhouse.
“The NFL looks for opportunities of scale, emerging platforms of significance,” Marty Conway, professor of sports management at Georgetown. “They have navigated the largest emerging waves, cable, satellite, online, mobile, etc. There are estimates of 10 million or more driverless cars in the next decade. With that, the role of the driver and passengers in vehicles are being re-imagined. Currently, that experience is almost exclusively audio in nature. That will change with larger screens in vehicles.
“The NFL is the one and only sports league that grants rights by device and now we see the same games, Thursday, Sunday, etc. split over multiple platforms, to now include Twitter,” Conway said. “The autonomous vehicle is just another platform in that regard as far as the NFL would be concerned.
“Vehicle companies like Ford and Hyundai are sponsors of the NFL, and others like Toyota are media sponsors,” Conway said. “Auto companies recognize the relationship fans have with the NFL and are keen to capitalize on it. If there were an opportunity to have exclusive NFL programming inside the vehicle, I am sure they would jump for it.”
“User-operated autonomous cars” have significant safety concerns to address. A Tesla driver killed in June while the car was in autopilot mode was reportedly watching a Harry Potter movie. And earlier this week, one of Google’s autonomous cars was struck by a van in an accident.
But plans are moving forward all over the world. Singapore expects to introduce a fleet of automated taxis next year. Britain has a $20 million government-funded project underway of automated cars. And for Google – the heaviest of heavyweights – the autonomous car has become its signature future project.
When it becomes reality, Redskins vs. Giants in your car driving home from a visit to the grandparents will the next golden goose for the NFL.- by Thom Loverro, The Washington Times. Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes and Google Play.
Here’s a Q&A from Pamela Sherratt, sports turf extension specialist for Ohio State:
Q: Why should I enter a career in turfgrass science and what jobs are open to me?
Bri Schneider, Sports Industry Major, The Ohio State University
A: Before we get into the nitty-gritty about salaries and job prospects I’d like to spend a few minutes talking first about what a career in turf involves and why you should definitely consider it as an option.
Careers in turf management involve working with plants and people, and so the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful in turf includes those related plant science, technology, engineering and math. Turf managers are also required to develop strong leadership skills in communication, project management, and personnel management, since a large part of their job may involve interactions with staff, field users, the general public, and the media.
One of the greatest advantages to working in turf management is that there are plenty of opportunities to work outdoors. If you love being outside, an outdoor work environment can feel fulfilling on many levels and definitely contributes to a high quality of life. Enjoying fresh air and sunshine beats being stuck in a cubicle in an office building any day of the week.
Most of us have experienced the feeling of utter peace and love for the job that occurs as you stand on an athletic field or a golf green at sunrise, just before a major game or tournament. That’s a feeling that can’t be beat. In addition to the love for outdoors, many people get into a turf career because they love and want to work around sports. A turf manager gets to play a role in success of the team by using his or her working knowledge of the sport to determine what field conditions are best for the athletes.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not state that a big advantage of working in turf is the turf community, the people. Basically, turf people rock. They possess a strong feeling of collegiality, a genuine desire to help young people succeed, and an uncanny ability to work hard but also enjoy life. If you want to work in an industry of genuinely good people, this is it.
Now let’s talk about the nitty-gritty.
Looking to the future, job security looks good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 178,000 first-line supervisors in turf management in 2014 (examples of job titles include Field Manager, Grounds Crew Supervisor, Grounds Foreman etc.). They predict that 39,000 job openings will be created in the next 10 years, with a projected industry growth of 5-8% during that same time period. If we assume that there are 50 university turf programs across the country, each producing 20 graduates per year (this number is high) it equates to 10,000 new turf graduates over the next 10 years, far below the needed 39,000 needed to fulfill industry needs. The bottom line is that there are far more jobs than people right now, and this trend will continue. A much-touted statistic is that more than 90 percent of graduates who earn a degree in sports turf management land a job right out of college. Few industries can rival that success rate.
Looking at salaries, sports turf managers can make $35,000 to $100,000 per year depending on where they work. The highest salaries are typically at professional athletic stadiums or large sports complexes. The STMA has salary figures for 2012 posted on their website (STMA.org) and they are currently conducting a 2016 salary survey. Preliminary figures are as follows: A sports turf manager’s mean salary is $65,300 and the median is $62,000. An assistant sports turf manager’s mean is $45,149 and median is $43,000. (Disclaimer: Data provided in 2016 STMA Compensation Survey with 17.5% of members responding; the survey was still open as of this writing.) These figures are similar in nature to those reported by the BLS in 2015. In its most recent survey, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the average starting salary for a 2016 graduate with a bachelor’s degree is ~$50,000. Remember that this is the national average, with some occupations much lower (education at 34K) and some much higher (engineering at 64K). Agricultural and natural resource careers were in the middle of that range. What’s important to keep in mind if choosing a career in turf is that there is prospect for growth and promotion within the industry is very good. As mentioned earlier, the demand for good people is far going to outweigh the supply.
Lastly, let’s look at the types of careers available in the turf industry. They could be listed as: sports turf and grounds management (taking care of sports fields and/or facilities), turf or sod production and sales, product sales and marketing (for example seed and fertilizer), field construction, renovation and consultation services, and academia (teaching, research and consultation). While each one of these careers requires knowledge of turf they vary greatly in nature. My job has a large teaching component; a sports facility manager may have a large part of their day dealing with budgets, staff issues and media communications; while a baseball field manager may be preparing to host an All-Star Game or a Rolling Stones concert. That’s also what’s great about the industry; each day has new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. It’s never, ever boring, believe me!
I shook Arnold Palmer’s hand maybe 15 years ago and it remains my go-to story whenever a “Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?” conversation breaks out. My admiration for Palmer went way beyond golf since by the time I picked up the game he was well beyond his prime. Instead I was always impressed by his respect for “Arnie’s Army” and the millions of fans who loved his style, humble background, and charitable contributions.-Eric Schroder
Here is The Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte on The King’s passing, saying it better than I could: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/rosaforte-saddest-day-golf-history/
When it comes to artificial turf, there’s a simple, but firm analysis related to injuries that Idaho State University researcher Michael Meyers has documented: the greater the weight of the infill used with artificial turf, the fewer the injuries.
Conversely, greater numbers of injuries are associated with artificial turf with lesser weights of infill.
“What we found out it is that it is shockingly linear, that as the infill weight goes down, the injuries just accelerate,” Meyers said.
Meyers, an associate professor in ISU’s Department of Sport Science and Physical Education in the College of Education, studied the turf at 52 high schools participating across four states (Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Montana) analyzing injuries over five seasons from 2010 to 2014.
His study published this summer earned Meyers the first annual STOP (Stop Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries Award from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. This award recognizes top research leading toward significant awareness and change in the prevention of traumatic and overuse injuries in youth sports.
Results of Meyer’s study, which was the first to directly compare football injuries as they relate to infill weight, were picked up by media outlets worldwide, from Reuters to United Press International, and by a wide variety specialty publications and websites.
“I even received a call from India, from someone who wanted to do a story on the turf,” Meyers said.
Synthetic turf infill is generally sand, small rubber particles or mixture of each that are placed between the blades of grass. Meyers study divided turf into four infill categories, based on pound per square foot of infill, 9 pounds or greater, 6 to 8.9 pounds, 3 to 5.9 pounds and less than 3 pounds.
The total number of injuries and the number of minor, substantial and severe injuries was significantly less in the turf with greater than 9 pounds of infill, compared to the other categories. For example there were about 33 percent less total injuries on turf with more than 9 pounds compared to the 6 to 8.9 pound category, and the greater-than-9-pound category had about 46 percent fewer overall injuries compared to the 3 to 5.9 category.
Meyers concluded his study recommending that artificial football fields contain a minimum infill weight of 6 pounds per square foot. This double-blind study looked at 485 variables and 52 categories of injury surveillance.
Meyers noted these conclusions warrant further investigation, and cannot be generalized to other levels of competition beyond those included in the study. This study continues to be ongoing, and Meyers is continuing to collect data.
The full title of Meyers’ study was “Incidence, Mechanisms, and Severity of Game-Related High School Football Injuries across Artificial Turf Systems of Various Infill Weight” and it was published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. The study was partially funded by FieldTurf.
With added safety in mind and a prod from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Dayton Dragons announced that protective netting would cover all lower-level seating at Fifth Third Field beginning next season.
“We’ve decided to extend a safety netting in a pretty dramatic fashion,” Bob Murphy, the team’s president and general manager, said during a news conference at the downtown stadium.
A Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Dragons always have had lower-level netting between the dugouts at Fifth Third, covering sections 108-111.
Starting next season, netting will blanket the entire lower level (sections 104-116).
Also, the height will be raised 5 feet to better protect upper-level club seating and luxury boxes.
The boost in spectator protection coincides with an address from Manfred during the 2015 winter baseball meetings in which he said all stadiums should have protective netting within 70 feet of home plate.
Murphy said seating behind home plate is a prime area that’s coveted by fans who feel more protected there from foul balls.
A Boston Globe report said an average of 73 percent of foul balls land in the stands of MLB ballparks.
A 2014 Bloomberg report estimated that 1,750 fans are struck by batted balls annually in major league stadiums.
Fan safety – and stadium liability – are major concerns at all levels of professional baseball.
“You will see foul balls and people will be struck,” Murphy said. “It’s incumbent on us that it’s as safe an environment as it could possibly be.”
The new netting will be thinner and have a smaller weave than existing netting. It also can be colored to further enhance stealthiness.
Dragons’ executive vice president Eric Deutsch oversaw the project that began early this year.
“I’ve learned a lot more about netting than I thought I would,” he said. “In 17 years of baseball, we’ve seen the dynamics of this ballpark and where foul balls go. It’ll almost have an invisibility to it. After you sit there you might not even know it’s there.”
The Dragons made their debut at Fifth Third Field in 2000.
The stadium has been the centerpiece of multiple efforts to revitalize downtown Dayton.
It’s been a hit with fans, too. With a capacity of 9,000-plus, Fifth Third Field owns the longest sellout streak in professional sports: 1,179, which is every home game the Dragons have played.
“I believe this is how netting in baseball stands will be seen in the future,” Murphy said.
“Commonplace and completely aesthetic.”- by Marc Pendleton, Dayton Daily News