SF State athletes must cope with run-down field at Cox Stadium

SFSU soccer
SF State Women's Soccer team do drills on the Cox Stadium field during half time of their game against CSU Dominguez Hills. Some have complained that the field has many patches that are muddy and poorly maintained. Photo by Nelson Estrada.

In feel-good sports movies, the big game is always a visual and emotional treat. The stands are packed with fans, the players are dripping sweat and the field is pristine.

Never do you see dry patches or uneven surfaces, but at SF State that is what athletes face every day.

Blame the budget, blame the weather, blame the foot traffic, but the fact remains: The athletic facilities on campus are not in the best condition.

Of the four fields, Cox Stadium arguably receives the most use. Men’s and women’s soccer share the field, but track also uses the location for the hammer-throw event. Plus, it is easily accessible for any other students who want to use the field.

“We don’t have multiple fields like other campuses so the field will take a lot of wear and tear,” said women’s soccer head coach Jack Hyde. “There is no downtime for the field during the season.”

According to head groundskeeper Phil Evans, because the fields are constantly used, the grass gets trampled and dies. This produces a waxy substance that coats the ground. As a result, water sits on top of the soil instead of penetrating to deliver the moisture where it is needed most.

“Sometimes if it even rains the day before you can’t practice on it because it’ll be so wet it’ll tear the whole thing apart,” said Nicole Vanni, a soccer player. “Last year we had to play one of our games at a local field because it was so wet.”

It’s not that the athletes are afraid of a little mud – it’s injuries they’re trying to avoid.

“It sucks, because especially there’ll be, like, a lot of mud piles so it’s like, you know, slipping or twisting your ankle (that we have to worry about),” Vanni said.

Maintaining the fields is a constant job.