This past summer, Towson University installed a new FieldTurf Revolution field at Johnny Unitas Stadium to replace the school’s old playing surface at the facility just outside Baltimore.
The new multi-purpose pitch looks fantastic, if the latest Google Maps satellite imagery is to be believed — but there’s one little problem, and it involves a hashtag.
Between the 30- and 20-yard lines on either side of the field, a yellow hashtag reading #upROAR can be seen, promoting a Tigers marketing campaign that launched this past June.
That was all well and good until Wednesday, when the NCAA Rules Committee moved to ban “social media designations, such as URLs and hashtags,” from marking football fields.
“We’re studying this ruling right now and we’re not sure how to react yet,” said Dan O’Connell, director of athletics media relations at Towson. “It kind of caught everybody by surprise.”
O’Connell said he was unsure of the exact cost of Towson’s new field surface, but past reports have indicated that FieldTurf surfaces can cost more than $900,000.
Fortunately, O’Connell said, removing the hashtag from the expensive new turf would not be difficult, if necessary. In fact, it was part of the plan for this summer, as Towson converts to a new slogan for the 2013-14 school year.
“We’ve had a theme for each year. Two years ago: ‘Restore the Roar.’ This year, it’s ‘Uproar,’ and I’m sure at some point we’re going to come up with our theme for next year,” O’Connell said.
“We’ll take a look at it and see what (this rule) is all about. Obviously, we’re going to have to change our plans if we can’t have the hashtag. … But we’ll find another way to spread the word, even if it can’t be on the field.”