The outdoor athletic fields of Sunshine State University are in poor condition. Overuse, insufficient drainage, and a lack of human and financial resources have contributed to the fields’ deterioration. Sunshine State University’s director of athletics, Emily Rodriguez, has decided to replace the existing fields, but that decision is just the tip of the iceberg. Rodriguez now must decide on a natural or synthetic surface for the new fields. This decision is complex because cost, maintenance, durability, player safety, and player preference must all be considered. Both surfaces have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, Rodriguez must decide which surface is right for Sunshine State University.
Jason Simmons is with Sport Administration, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. Nels Popp is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Greg Greenhalgh is with the Center for Sport Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.