TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In an announcement yesterday, the Pac-12 CEO group said all sports competitions though the end of this year are postponed.
But the announcement sent ripples felt far beyond just the athletes, coaches and athletic department.
“I feel like we get over looked but we are just as important as the next person on the field,” said Darren Criswell The University of Arizona’s Turf Grass Manager.
Darren and his team of 10 make up the Arizona’s turf team. They literally lay the foundation for a healthy and successful football season.
“We do ensure that this product they’re putting on the field is safe,” said Criswell. " You have these student athletes that are going to go on to bigger and better and you want to make sure that they’re not getting an ACL tear or tripping up spraining their ankle. "
Because the season was postponed does not mean the university’s turf team will be putting less effort into the field. They still have to do walk throughs to make sure the field is safe for athletes to use.
“Grass doesn’t know COVID,” said Criswell. “Grass doesn’t know Pac-12 shut down.”
Taking care of this grass and turf especially in the middle of a desert is no cake walk. On a typical game day Darren and his team arrive at 8 a.m. and don’t leave until midnight. Then they come right back at 6 a.m. the next day.
“We fill any divots and holes athletes may have caused from whatever training they might have done,” said Criswell.
Criswell says even though there won't be game day hours that there is still practice meaning he and his team still have their work cut out for them.
“I’m a positive person this situation was an unfortunate one but were going to turn it around and make it as best we can,” said Criswell. “It’s an extension for what we can do to our grass to make sure its stronger and safer for next year.”