When the Maryland Terrapins football team takes to the gridiron this fall for their first home game, they'll be doing it on a cool new surface with a cool new look.
University officials announced Wednesday that Byrd Stadium's playing field will be replaced over the summer with FieldTurf, an artificial material used widely in NFL and NCAA Division I stadiums.
The field will be the first in the United States to employ CoolPlay technology, which producers claim can keep field temperatures 15 degrees lower than normal artificial surfaces.
The university said that the change would protect the physical health of the football and lacrosse players who use the field while also reducing maintenance costs.
"The addition of this new field will excite our entire student body and will be invaluable when it comes to recruiting in the future," head football coach Randy Edsall said in a statement.
The health impact of artificial turf remains a matter of dispute in athletic circles.
For their part, UMd. officials cited a Montana State University analysis which found that significantly fewer injuries were reported in college football games played on FieldTurf surfaces than on natural grass. Other studies have shown higher rates of particular injury types on artificial turf.
Though rumors had swirled ahead of the announcement that the university might mimic its loud football uniforms and use a radical color scheme for the turf, the field will be a traditional green. Instead, the Calvert and Crossland colors of the Maryland flag will adorn each end zone.