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.