Notre Dame announced Saturday that because of the recent quality of the grass field at the stadium, FieldTurf would be installed before the 2014 season begins.
The school made the announcement during Saturday's spring game.
"We had a strong predisposition to stay with a natural grass field," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. "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."
Swarbrick's comment about the same surface are in reference to Notre Dame's practice fields, which are turf. The announcement corresponded with an ugly-looking playing surface for the spring game. It hasn't been the best of winters to grow grass in the Midwest.
The university is also embarking on a $400 million improvement project to the stadium in addition to the turf replacement.
After the memorable 2005 matchup against USC, Trojan players claimed that the grass at the stadium was grown longer than usual to slow USC down. Growing turf long isn't obviously possible. The conspiracy theories (true or not) about Notre Dame's landscaping will now cease to exist.
And we're going to guess that Irish fans will soon be able to purchase a chunk of grass from the stadium sooner rather than later.
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