End zones in Dome revamped after blown call

John R. Carter

The University men’s athletics department and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission agreed Thursday to change the end zone design for Gophers football games at the Metrodome, Bill Lester, the executive director of the MSFC said.

Senior associate athletics director Jeff Schemmel said the new design will feature green turf throughout the end zone, except for maroon and gold lettering of Minnesota and the Golden Gophers.

Schemmel hopes the new end zone prevents controversial plays in the future.

The new-look end zone will be in place for the Gophers next home game on Oct. 20 against Michigan State.

In last Saturday’s overtime loss to Purdue, Minnesota receiver Tony Henderson had what looked to be a touchdown called back because the official ruled Henderson’s foot came down out of bounds.

Replays showed Henderson’s foot did indeed come down within the end zone, on the green strip of turf, but having three colors within a foot of each other apparently threw the official off.

Head of Big Ten officials David Perry said earlier this week the official blew the call on Henderson’s catch. With the new end zone design, the Gophers hope the problem never happens again.

Lester said the new design will make things much easier for officials – as well as the two competing teams – in the future.

“(The Gophers) are an important tenant,” Lester said. “And we want them to be comfortable with the situation.”

Minnesota senior associate athletics director Jeff Schemmel agreed.

Lester said the option of extending the gold turf to the sideline was not feasible because the gold and white look too similar in color and would make the problem worse.

Lester said the cost to the University for the change will be minimal.

– John R. Carter