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Bucking a trend among major sports teams, Columbia will start i

September 21, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bucking a trend among major sports teams, Columbia will start its first football season on artificial turf when the Lions open their home schedule Saturday against St. Mary’s of California.

Columbia athletic director John Reeves is cognizant of the criticism of the turf as dangerous to athletes, but said ``NCAA research over the past five years shows no difference in the incidence of injuries on artificial surfaces vs. grass.″

Kansas City’s major league teams, the baseball Royals and football Chiefs, this season each replaced long-standing turf carpets with grass fields.

Even in the Ivy League, where only Cornell and Penn have artificial turf, there has been controversy. Last summer Harvard quarterback Vin Ferraro sustained a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament on Penn’s turf.

``That’s a classic artificial turf injury,″ said one player who asked not to be identified. ``You can’t slide your feet on it.″

Columbia, in its 105th football season, has played at the Baker Field complex since 1923 and on grass for 71 of those 72 seasons.

AstroTurf XL, called a ``player-friendly″ synthetic surface, was installed this year as part of a $1 million renovation.

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