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Sorry, Southern Mississippi, but the field conditions during Saturday’s game should never have been allowed to happen.

A banner at M. M. Roberts Stadium proudly proclaimed during the game against Louisville that 2012 is the 100th year of football for Southern Miss. The stadium, named for a USM alumnus, has been the Hattiesburg home for college football since 1936.

M. M. Roberts would not have been pleased having his name on the stadium last weekend.

Anyone who has played or walked on a good college football field knows that the center of the field is higher in the middle, largely for drainage purposes. The designer of the Southern Miss playing surface was remiss, either purposefully or out of ignorance.

I couldn’t find anything in the NCAA rule book pertaining to drainage, but according to Midwest Drainage:

The general guideline is to provide a 2.5 % slope from the crown in the center of the field to and past the sideline areas of the field. It is important to install a permitter drainage system on the sideline areas of the field to remove the excess moisture from these areas of the field.

The stadium, which seats 36,000, has been renovated and expanded at least three times since 1976, with the addition of many amenities, including luxury suites and a high def scoreboard. The problem with the field has probably been around as long as the stadium.

Midwest Drainage: Just because someone knows how to run a backhoe, doesn’t mean they can drain a sports field … When a problem arises with the field, the school, college or city that contracted to have the field built has no recourse to have the problem corrected.

The Southern Miss field presented a clear threat to athletes on both teams. Not difficult to imagine what could happen to a poor running back with his face in the water beneath a pile of players.


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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

13 thoughts on “Southern Miss football field is broken”
  1. Could not agree more. Any future games Louisville has scheduled at S. Miss should be cancelled. I watched another S. Miss home game several years ago where heavy rains resulted in the same field condition. Did anyone else notice that when the S. Miss field goal attempt hit the upright that the goal post seemed to be tilted to the right?

  2. To TXCARD:

    I think you are talking about a SoMiss-LaTech game. The SoMiss radio play by play guy referenced that game two or three times (we were in Hattiesburg)and each time said this game was even worse than that one. And he was stunned that could happen.

  3. Wow. You guys sound pitiful. I’m disgusted after reading this article and the comments on it. Wow!

      1. USM needs to get a defense. Offense scores
        points & defense wins games. Come on Coach you need to get it together. That’s what you get paid to do. Enough already.
        Ex-Coach. JD

  4. Actually the field at southern miss has a great drainage system , I was at the game and there was just so much rainfall that it was a pond on the field , but as you could see by the end of the game the field was 85 percent dry. 30 mins after the game it was completely dry. Watching the game on tv didn’t accurately show how much rain was falling during the game. Don’t get pissed at the facilities at usm just cause your team almost lost to a winless team.

  5. That would have been a close game no matter who was playing because of the field conditions. I guess we’re spoiled in Louisville because standing water is never a factor at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

  6. I’m guessing you watched the game at home on TV, based on your statement. Yes, the the Southern Miss football field does have a crown (that’s the actual term for the center of the field being higher, in case you didn’t know). However, reports from the university said that we got 3.5 inches of rain during the game – don’t know of many (if any) drainage systems that can handle that amount in that short a time.

  7. Yes, I disagree. It clearly wasn’t a normal playing surface. Don’t you guys appreciate the beauty of playing in that kind of weather?

    1. We HAVE supported the Cards under many adverse conditions, enduring frigid, icy games,in Memphis and Connecticut, as well as at home games. Imagine 42,000 fans frantically climbing over chairbacks (remember, no benches in PCJS)to reach shelter from an impending lightning storm. And that FSU game, when my hands were wet for over 4 hours. After that game, we poured water out of the bags which were wrapped around our feet. By the way, the field was fine that night. So, we know from firsthand experience about the “beauty” of adverse conditions. The conditions of Roberts Stadium field were deplorable, not for the fans’ sake but for the players’.

      1. Roberts Stadium field? Lol. You clearly didn’t understand my comment. Few people will, however, so it’s okay!

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