Artificial Turf Coming to Notre Dame Stadium

A general view of Notre Dame Stadium before the Blue-Gold Game. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
A general view of Notre Dame Stadium before the Blue-Gold Game. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

A major change is coming to Notre Dame Stadium. During the first quarter of the 2014 Blue and Gold game, NBC’s Alex Flanigan reported that Notre Dame will be installing artificial turf in Notre Dame Stadium for the first time in history following commencement this spring.

Flanigan interviewed Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick about the change and Swarbrick explained that the field in Notre Dame Stadium just has not been up to par in two of the last three seasons – something that is no surprise to anyone who has watched any game in Notre Dame Stadium after September in any recent season.

The state of Notre Dame’s field is on full display this afternoon as well with the turf looking absolutely dreadful following the harsh winter that slammed the entire Midwest.

Today’s announcement shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise for anyone.  Ever since Notre Dame announced the Crossroads project back in January, it has been widely speculated that this announcement would likely be coming.  Up until today, however, Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame had said that no final decisions had been made regarding the playing surface.  Well, that decision has now been made.

This is a move that is sure to ruffle feathers amongst the traditionalist crowd, but in reality, Notre Dame had to do something drastic to address the field situation since everything they have tried in the past has just not worked.  We have seen players slipping and sliding all over a poor playing surface the past few falls and hopefully the addition of turf will finally fix the problem.

UPDATE:  Notre Dame has released a press release with some quotes from Jack Swarbrick on the decision to make the switch to FieldTurf before the 2-014 season.

“We had a strong predisposition to stay with a natural grass field,” says Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. “However, the reality is that in two of the last three seasons since we moved Commencement to the Stadium we have been unable to produce an acceptable playing surface. That, combined with the likely impacts of future construction at the Stadium, led me to conclude that we would continue to struggle to maintain a grass field that meets the expectations of our student-athletes and fans as it relates to appearance, performance and safety.

“Synthetic turf will assist our game preparation because our team will be able to play and practice on the same surface. We will also be able to utilize the Notre Dame Stadium field for practices on home football Fridays and other occasions, whereas that is currently unrealistic. Additionally, this change allows us to eliminate the risk to players posed by the asphalt perimeter that has to be maintained around our current field.”


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  1. Michigan State is nice, Michigan State is good.

    And they often win, but do not do so against Notre Dame for the last three years.

    NOTRE dame. MY FIGHTING IRISH HAVE THREE straight wins against the Spartans you love so much.

    Here’s something you might try, when you cite facts try to keep them relevant to the situation at hand. You might find it refreshing. I know we will.

    And help me out, sport, what does field turf have to do with either of Catholicism or Crhistianity. You’re not trying to drag the sermon on the mount into this are you?

    1. What do you have to do with Notre Dame. Other than yelling “Rah Rah”, which for you could just as easily be done for Ohio State, Alabama, or Miami, you don’t seem to have a clue about the University side of Notre Dame.

      But as for pointing out, MSU, the FACT is that their grass field is well maintained, and the FACT is that wins over the Spartans have not helped Notre Dame get back to the elite programs. The FACT is MSU went on to win the Rose Bowl last year. A year in which Notre Dame gained more exciting lore by claiming a BIG win against that mighty power of the 20th century, Rutgers in that top tier of all bowls, “The Yankee Stadium Bowl”. Face it Duranko, you spent a lot of time trying to pretend that what you see today can compare with what some of us actually witnessed, and were a part of. Spew your crap duranko, but you’ll never really be part of Notre Dame.

      You are the essence of a Crimson Tide fan. Go be one.

  2. My mental image of Lou Holtz squatting down and picking blades of grass on the ND sideline has now become all the more antiquated. Never to be repeated again by a ND head coach. The price of progress…. I agree with the call to go FieldTurf though.

  3. I have no problem with installing artificial turf, but the idea that you can’t grow a decent grass field in northern Indiana is kind of hard to swallow. I think they just wanted to put in an artificial field. They grow an excellent grass field at Busch Stadium and St. Louis ain’t exactly a botanical paradise.

    1. Very true, but come on, baseball is a completely different animal. You’re point is almost comical.

      1. The game is primarily played during the summer/warm months (May through September) with April being the only tricky month to begin with. Perfect growing and maintaining time.

      2. The wear and tear is much, much less. How much can a grass outfield get chewed up? Hardly ever. As for the infield? The spots where the grass would be chewed up are covered with dirt.

  4. I hate t see the natural grass go , but it has to be done . The field is terrible . It will be a very positive change . They have started fresh a couple of times with no changes in the condition . So it has to be done . You can not tear up year after year and keep getting the same results .. This will be cost effective .

  5. Very good move. Plain and simple, this change needed to be made. I would love to see grass in there to stay, but it has been proven time and again it just does not work. Turf has been fine in stadiums like Michigan and Ohio State, so I would expect the same here.

    1. Michigan State went back to grass over 10 years ago. Their field has no issues. And while UofM like ND spends hundreds of millions on nastalgia and gimmicks, like ND, UofM struggles to get into the top 15.
      Meanwhile, MSU is focused on the fundamentals of a good program and just wins.
      ND going to turf is a moot point now. ND becoming just another sports franchise versus a Catholic school is not.
      Those of you who are really tied to ND other than having decided to be an Irish fan, look up the Sycamore Trust online.

      1. Michigan State just wins? They won 12 last year (and still lost to the Irish). That doesn’t mean they’re Alabama all of the sudden. And whether they have grass or turf, it has nothing to do with their winning or losing.

      2. Who said they are Alabama. There has been so much said about Notre Dame NEEDING turf versus grass. My argument is that installing turf may not change a thing, but is another distraction. I use MSU as an example. They were a laughing stock before Dantonio. He’s turned them into THE Michigan team, much to the dismay of the folks in Ann Arbor. Those who come up with reasons why grass cannot be grown in the upper Midwest are ignoring places like MSU. If you prefer turf, then just say, “I like turf better”. I happen to believe outdoor sports are better on grass. And I also think Notre Dame is just creating a distraction or hoping to out spend the SEC. I’ll be happily proved wrong when they end up in the playoff and at least get back to the NC game. A 10 win season might even do it. I hope they earn the hype.

  6. Not everything has been done. Dig it all up, and start new from scratch. Fact is this is what Kelly and Swarbrick want. Next jerseys will have names on their backs, helmets will not be gold, uniforms will look like Oregon’s, and the Fighting Irish band will be disrobed of color guards.

    1. Glad to have you Peter. It’s awesome to have somebody with inside knowledge of what has or hasn’t been done and who knows all of the facts.

  7. Finally, i have waited since 1956 for them to fix this field. It has been terrible for that long or longer. People forget that in the Leahy years and earlier, we only played 9 game seasons and never more than 4 home games. They were spread out from late Sept to early Dec (when we still played USC in SB)and the field had time to heal between games. Also, the first two games were early in the year and didn’t damage the field very much. If it rained, the field gets torn up and can’t recover.

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