FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The only thing the Fayetteville State Broncos abuse more than their opponents at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium is the turf they play on.
In 2007, Fayetteville was the first in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) to move from grass to an artificial field. But this offseason, the Broncos upgraded their turf again and transformed the place entirely.
“Kudos to Chancellor (Darrell T.) Allison and our administration,” head football coach Richard Hayes, Jr. said. “They came in and saw the need and really helped us out.”
Coaches aren’t the only ones who are appreciative of what the college’s administration as done. Players took to the liking of the stadium’s new look and feel, too.
“He (Allison) has really invested in the football program,” Broncos defensive back Elvin De La Rosa said. “He sees something special in us and he’s willing to put that money up and get us a new field.”
The school stepped up and purchased 89,000 square feet of the RootZone 3D3 blend system high performance turf. This turf has texturized fibers that hold down the pebbles and sand you see popping up on other fields giving more stability to athletes.
The fibers themselves on Fayetteville State’s new field are polyethylene fused with nylon, which make for a softer feel.
“It isn’t scratching your skin when you fall over on it,” Hayes said. “We don’t have what you call strawberries, guys getting huge strawberries on it when they fall.”
Players have noticed a difference even after just a few weeks of work on it.
“I remember when I first stepped out here, I was like ‘wow my feet can really plant in to the ground’,” quarterback K’Hari Lane said. “On top of that, it looks great. You know, it feels like somewhere you want to go out and have a good game, play well and represent the city.”
Half of the reason for the turf improvement is about improving the play for teams that call Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium home.
The other half is about impressing new recruits. These types of updated facilities are not often see at HBCU’s, making Fayetteville State the talk and envy of the league.
“It just shows you this is not the average HBCU,” Lane said. “We have people behind us that are going to support the athletic program, put us up and get us the things we need to play.”
However, the new turf did come with one condition attached to it from Chancellor Allison.
“All he said was he wants a championship in return,” Hayes said. “So we have some big goals ahead of us.”
The journey starts Sept. 4th when the Broncos open up on in Rocky Mount, N.C. against Elizabeth City State.