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Bill would stop Ohio pro teams from playing on turf

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(The Center Square) – If two Ohio lawmakers get their way, the Cincinnati Bengals will play on real grass rather than turf.

Rep. Rodney Creech, R-West Alexandria, and Rep. Terrance Upchurch, D-Cleveland, recently introduced a bill requiring professional sports stadiums in the state to use natural grass fields.

The bill does not address the countless synthetic turf high school football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and softball fields. It also doesn’t mention numerous college and university fields throughout the state, including Ohio Stadium.

“Ohio has two fantastic NFL franchises that make up a large part of our economy and culture,” Creech said. “This legislation prioritizes the safety of our professional athletes and supports Ohio’s sports industry.”

The bill would require professional stadiums to have at least 90% natural grass fields maintained at industry standard levels for high-performance field surfaces.

In a news release, Creech said turf fields have a higher rate of injuries.

The Bengals play in Paycor Stadium, an outdoor stadium with synthetic turf since 2004. The stadium opened in 2000.

The Cleveland Browns, who play on natural grass, continue to push for a new stadium, which could include a dome. That likely would mean a turf field.

According to Sports Illustrated, Browns’ ownership told other NFL owners in March that they are considering a new domed facility outside of downtown that would cost $2.5 billion. They are also considering $1.2 billion in renovations to the current stadium, which was built in 1999.

Other professional stadiums in the state, including the Columbus Crews’ Lower.com Field, FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium and several minor league baseball teams, all have natural grass.

Fifteen NFL teams play on grass and 15 play on turf.

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