updated 2/22/2011 7:17:28 AM ET 2011-02-22T12:17:28

DALLAS, Feb. 22, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In each of the past two seasons, SMU football earned a bowl berth and a share of the Conference USA Western Division championship. When the 2011 season kicks off, the Mustangs will line up on a new, championship-caliber field at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

SMU is installing a state-of-the-art Mondoturf 3NX Thermo-bonded Fine Tuned Ecofill artificial turf system manufactured by Mondo, the global leader in the sports flooring market. SMU officials wanted the new field to come from a company with a proven reputation for the highest quality products, said Steve Orsini, SMU's director of athletics. "We wanted to make sure that the field we chose would perform at the highest level for college or professional sports."

Installation began in early February and is scheduled for completion by the end of March. Mondo is partnering on the installation with Texas Sports Builders, a Burleson, Texas, sports construction company. The new field will replace the school's old artificial turf field, which had reached the end of its useful lifespan after eight years of play.

"Our program emphasizes speed and we rely on the speed of the players, so we wanted a field with speed characteristics that were the most similar to natural grass," said Orsini. "The product—and the research behind it—gave us confidence that we were minimizing the difference between natural grass and artificial turf."

While Mondoturf's high-density Ecofill infill creates a stable and uniform playing surface, and the field's impact performance and energy return are the most like natural turf, the product's durability was another important characteristic for SMU. In addition to intercollegiate football practice and games, the field also is used for men's and women's soccer practice, men's and women's club lacrosse, and sports camps. Plus, the university wanted a field that would lessen the impact of Dallas' scorching summer heat. Ecofill infill is a patented, environmentally friendly, factory-manufactured polyolefin-based granule infill that is not made from reground tire pellets, which are commonly used by other artificial turf manufacturers, so it retains less heat than the black rubber granules found on other artificial turf fields.

"It's a huge point for us to be able to say that we're going to reduce the field's heat radiation during the summer months," Orsini said.

The field's groundbreaking 3NX fiber has proven core characteristics that allow it to perfectly mimic the responses of natural grass, and to do so with outstanding resilience and durability while offering superior player comfort.

Thermo-bonded, Mondo's newest artificial turf backing, provides a dimensionally stable tufted turf without needing a polyurethane secondary backing. A dual primary backing holds the turf fibers in place more securely than traditional primary backings can, so the field can be handled as necessary without substantial fiber loss.

The FTS underlayment is a prefabricated shock pad/drainage system made of recycled tire granules that are treated and encapsulated in polyurethane, preventing the possibility of contamination. The underlayment compacts less than traditional systems, so the field's play and performance characteristics remain consistent throughout the entire surface, ensuring optimal play and outstanding ball action while minimizing the risk of injuries to athletes, even if the infill migrates.

SMU also had previous experience with Mondo products: The floor of the football team's weight room is built with Mondo's Sport Impact inlaid platforms.

About Southern Methodist University

A private university located in the heart of Dallas, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world through seven degree-granting schools.

SMU sponsors 17 intercollegiate sports programs, and the university has ranked as the top school in its conference for 11 of the last 13 years in the Director's Cup overall athletic rankings. Gerald J. Ford Stadium, the university's on-campus football stadium, opened in 2000 and has seating for 32,000 fans.

About Texas Sports Builders

An industry-leading sport construction company, Texas Sports Builders provides turn-key athletic facilities with unmatched customer service. One of the fastest growing companies in Northern Texas, Texas Sports Builders is dedicated to building athletic facilities with integrity and durability. To learn more, go to www.texassportsbuilders.com .

About Mondo

Mondo is the global leader in the sports and contract flooring markets, manufacturing flooring surfaces for virtually every application. More than 1,100 Mondo tracks and 800 Mondo artificial turf fields are installed worldwide. The official supplier of the athletic track for the past nine Olympic Games and the upcoming 2012 London Olympics, Mondo also is the official supplier or official sponsor of more than 100 sports federations and associations.

The company supplies a wide variety of commercial flooring, and it is the world's largest producer of sports and toy balls with an average daily production of 450,000 units. In addition, it manufactures large luxury yachts under its Mondo Marine division.

A family-owned business since its founding in 1948, Mondo sells its products in more than 196 countries. The company's global headquarters are in Italy, and it has manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. More information about Mondo is available at www.mondoworldwide.com .         

Mondo is a registered trademark of Mondo.

The Mondo logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5765

CONTACT: Glynis Gibson
         Gibson Communications, Inc.
         773.278.7700
         glynis.gibson@gibsoncommunications.com

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