After spring commencement Notre Dame Stadium will undergo a transformation, removing the natural grass and transition the field into an artificial playing surface. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick announced the decision and reasons for the installing the field turf during yesterday’s Blue-Gold game saying, “We just can’t have the field we’ve had two of the last three years. It’s just not fair to the student athletes or our opponents when they come in frankly.”
Notre Dame’s field constantly broke down over past seasons, evidence uncovered from chunks of grass scattered across the field during games. Throughout the country, whether it is at city parks or high school fields even, one of the most important aspects to the game is the playing surface and administrators are turning to artificial turfs.
Swarbrick says that the University has replaced the natural grass two of the past three years after graduation and commented on meeting with the Green Bay Packers even on how their organization maintains natural grass amidst the elements. He says that even though their system is costly with a hybrid-system, “you face a challenge for us,” in dealing the with annual commencement ceremony.
Currently the team practices on artificial turf, both indoors and outdoors and although fans will for certain take a double-take viewing of the field next fall, they should be satisfied that the University is providing the student athletes the best surface to play on.
As far as the design of the field, I am not even considering changes from the diagonal lined endzones, and a small circle at the 50-yard line. To me, I think it would be an easier decision for Swarbrick and head coach Brian Kelly to leave the patterns the same. The Irish can always fall back on the Shamrock Series for field patterns and futuristic uniforms. For Notre Dame Stadium in 2014 and beyond, considering subpar field conditions over the past few seasons, artificial turf will add more valuable than the traditional lure of natural grass.