published Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Recent heavy rainfall has left the Mocs' practice field near the Tennessee River under water and unusable

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's practice field, Scrappy Moore Field, was flooded by the recent rains.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's practice field, Scrappy Moore Field, was flooded by the recent rains.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team conducted its voluntary workouts at Finley Stadium on Tuesday, as they will today. They did a lot of agility and speed work Tuesday before going 7-on-7 for a while.

If the Mocs had been at Scrappy Moore Field, the only thing they could have done was go for a swim. UTC's practice facility, located just a few yards from the Tennessee River, has been under a few feet of water for several days due to the heavy rainfall in the area.

The rain caused the river to flood onto the grass and turf, and the rain also backed up all of the drains at the facility, which added to what has essentially become Lake Scrappy.

Mike Royster, UTC's assistant athletic director for facilities and equipment, said Wednesday morning that the current flooding -- some minor spring flooding is not uncommon -- is the worst he's seen in at least a decade.

Royster, who is beginning his 40th year at UTC, said the flooding shouldn't damage the grass section of the facility. But the turf will likely require some work.

"The turf part is what we're worried about right now," Royster said. "There's just no way to know [the damage, if any] until the water gets off of it."

By Wednesday afternoon, the section of the Riverwalk around Scrappy was still closed and though the water had receded some, the field was still flooded. More rain Wednesday night could keep Scrappy soaking even longer.

Scrappy Moore Field got a major facelift in 2010, including a new 60-yard section of turf. The fate of all the rubber bits that cover the turf is unknown. In addition, Royster said UTC will have to clean and sanitize the turf before it can be used.

"We've already made arrangements to have that done," he said of the cleaning, adding that he hopes that the rubber pellets in the turf will stay in place for the most part because there isn't any current in the water.

The Mocs begin football practice on July 31, so there isn't a great deal of time to get the fields squared away. And it would help UTC if the rain stayed away for a week or two. Royster said there's also a lot of equipment at the facility that will need to be cleaned before practice begins.

"We'll just have to get it done as fast as we can," Royster said. "We've just got to hope we don't get a lot more rain."

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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