The construction in the north end zone continues, but IU's Memorial Stadium now requires a bunch of work before the Hoosiers can take the field on Labor Day weekend. As the Indianapolis Star and others reports, the torrential rains that have been hitting much of central Indiana somehow compromised the field and caused a sinkhole
in the football field and various other damage to the rest of the field. IU's artificial turf field was installed in time for the 2003 season. IU played on the old-style artificial turf from the early 1970s through 1997. As was the trend then, IU went back to natural grass in 1998, but really could never get the field to drain properly or grow properly and aborted that experiment after five season. Somehow, I have retained from my sophomore year geology class that the part of southern Indiana where Bloomington is located is characterized by karst topography
, which can be susceptible to sinkholes.
As the Hoosier Scoop notes, the resolution could be complicated because the company that installed IU's field is no longer in business
(that doesn't mean there wouldn't be a successor-in-interest who would be on the hook for any defect in construction, but it's a complication nonetheless). But regardless of who pays for it, obviously IU needs to begin its efforts to repair the field or (more likely) install a new one before the season. Adding yet another wrinkle is a major event scheduled for early August in Bloomington. As part of its effort to attract a variety of musical and fine arts events to the city, Indianapolis secured a long-term commitment from the DCI Drum and Bugle Corps championships
from August 7-9. While the Colts' new Lucas Oil Stadium will be the long-term host for the event, part of the deal was that Bloomington would host the 2008 competition if the new stadium were not ready in time. A few months ago, the city made clear that they could not guarantee that the new stadium would be ready, and so the event was moved to Bloomington. Now, IU is eight weeks out from that event with no usable football field. Not good.