There is an ongoing investigation to find the suspect responsible for vandalizing the new turf on the Frank M. Lindsay field.
On Saturday, September 14, someone trespassed into the construction site overnight and utilized some of the materials from the site to cause damage to the field.
“Someone had taken the red paint used for the track and dumped it on the M seal on the middle of the field and on one of the end zones,” Chris Ballard, the head of Millikin’s Department of Public Safety, said.
The damage was discovered early the next day, and the repair work began first thing that morning.
Thankfully, the minor destruction did not cause production on the field to slow down.
“The great thing is that in a day everything was back to normal. We didn’t lose any practice time because of it,” Patrick Etherton, head football coach, said.
At this time, no suspect description available.
“Any relevant information [about the case] would be appreciated. The suspect most likely ruined his or her shoes with a red, rust colored paint. It is very difficult to get off,” Ballard said.
Although it may have just been a “harmless” prank in the eyes of the person behind the vandalism, for many, the vandalism to the football field struck a sour note. Sophomore football player Nick Retherford was displeased when he saw what had happened.
“I felt disappointed, because a lot of effort went into raising the money for the turf, and a lot of effort was spent installing it,” Retherford said.
Due to the amount of time football players spend practicing and playing on the field, many were agitated with the vandalism.
“The players have seen [the field] progress all year, and they take a lot of pride in it, so naturally they were upset,” Etherton said.
It was certainly upsetting to see something so important to Millikin treated in a disrespectful way. With all the work and donations put into the new turf, many are upset as to how someone could perform the act.
“It was very frustrating that somebody would do that,” Ballard said. “This is a big thing for the university, and for someone to do something so childish is frustrating.”
The turf on the football field is more than just a new playing surface. It represents how far Millikin has come and is a glimpse as to what people can expect from them in the future.
“I was disappointed and upset that somebody would do that to a new facility,” Etherton said. “Our players, coaches and Millikin alumni, like myself, take a lot of pride in this field.”
Ballard encourages anyone with valid information about who may have vandalized the field to step forward. With the little information they have now, the school depends on its students and faculty to help shed a light on the upsetting situation.
If you are aware of any connections to the vandalism, please contact the Office of Public Safety.