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.”