South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The University of Notre Dame announced Saturday that artificial turf will be installed at Notre Dame Stadium in time for the 2014 football season.
The installation is set to begin during the University's commencement weekend from May 16-18, with an anticipated completion date set for Aug. 15.
"We had a strong predisposition to stay with a natural grass field," said 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."
The FieldTurf surface, which is currently being installed at Frank Eck Stadium, Notre Dame's home baseball facility, provides greater consistency for the Irish squad, as they already practice both outdoors and indoors on the artificial turf.
"Synthetic turf will assist our game preparation because our team will be able to play and practice on the same surface," Swarbrick added. "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."
Ten of the 14 Big Ten Conference fields, including Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin, feature some form of artificial turf.