SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Artificial turf is finally coming to Notre Dame Stadium, putting an end to yearly speculation about what the school would do about its outdated playing surface.
Installation of the FieldTurf will begin shortly following the school's May 16-18 commencement weekend, with an expected completion date of Aug. 15, 2014.
The announcement was made during the first quarter of the school's Blue-Gold spring game Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, where the surface clearly showed some wear and tear from the 2013 season.
"We had a strong predisposition to stay with a natural grass field," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a release. "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."
The Fighting Irish already practice on FieldTurf at both their indoor and outdoor complexes, the Loftus Sports Center and the LaBar Practice Complex, respectively.
Notre Dame says that 37 of 47 Northeast and Midwest FBS programs (states of Nebraska and Kansas and east; states of Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia and north) feature stadiums with some form of artificial turf.