Final Four court installed at AT&T Stadium

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA Sports

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 10:35 AM

ARLINGTON -- AT&T Stadium was a busy place on Friday.

“Yeah, we're inching our way to the finish line,” said stadium spokesman Brett Daniels.

Crews were moving chairs to accommodate around 16,000 temporary seats.

“This is a seating structure that the NCAA actually owns,” Daniels said. “They bring it in for each Final Four, so it's been in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Houston. It takes out about 9,000 of the existing bowl seats that we had here at AT&T Stadium. It gives everybody great sight lines. It's like building an arena inside a football stadium.”

In the middle, a new court was being installed that will help produce a national champion.

“It's 9,800 square feet,” said Bruce Haroldson with Connor Sport Court, who is installing the new floor. “It weighs 33 tons. We use a hammer to adjust to make sure all the lines and graphics line up.”

The floor was actually used for the Kentucky vs. Baylor game back in December as a trial run, but it’s been refinished for the Final Four.

It's custom made and constructed of maple wood, but not just any maple wood.

“The association dictates that all the lumber has to be grown north of the 35th parallel,” Haroldson said. “So it's a slow growth, tight rings -- a very dense lumber. It's the same trees that produce this lumber produce maple syrup.”

The school that wins the championship will have the option to purchase this floor. Teams in the past have used them for their practice court facilities and they've cut out the center and put it in their locker room. They’ve also cut it up into pieces and sold those as souvenirs.

“Florida, the first year they won it, they bought the floor, and the second year, they bought it, cut it up, and funded numerous non-athletic scholarships with that money,” Haroldson said.

Not bad for a floor that costs $100,000 and sits underneath a sign that reads "The Road Ends Here."

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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