OSU football program adds fourth practice field lights for night practices

The Ohio State football program is adding a fourth field to its outdoor practice facilities and lights for nighttime practices.The new practice field will be made of the same artificial FieldTurf used in Ohio Stadium and will have the same markings.The existing three-field practice layout consists of two natural grass fields and one with FieldTurf. Because the Buckeyes always use at least two fields during practice, the addition of the second turf field ensures that they won’t have to risk tearing up one of the grass fields during bad-weather practices.But this insurance won’t be needed anytime soon because OSU has no games on grass fields in the 2010 regular season. As such, coach Jim Tressel said the team won’t practice on either of the grass fields all year.However, the team will utilize the practice lights, as it has night games against Marshall at home for the season-opener and at Wisconsin and Minnesota. Tressel said he has been asking athletic director Gene Smith for lighted practice fields for years.Despite revenues of more than $60 million each year, the football program needed a $5 million donation from the Harmon family of Toledo to complete the $5.2 million Practice Facility Renovation Project.The ongoing first phase will be finished by June 13, when OSU sports camps begin. The second phase, which includes lighting and video towers, is scheduled for completion by Aug. 1 and the official start of fall practice.This project will displace the field hockey practice field, which will be moved to the north side of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at a cost of $1.6 million, said Don Patko, associate athletic director for facilities at OSU. The field hockey team’s new field is slated to be done by Aug. 12.Meanwhile, the football program will formally dedicate its new field at 4:30 p.m. Friday, when both Jim Tressel and Gene Smith will speak. It will be an opportunity to show off to recruits coming in town for Saturday’s Spring Game.

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