A little bit of tradition is being ushered quietly out the back door at Notre Dame. In this case, it might be well overdue. Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has confirmed that the school is changing up from regular, sloppy, messy old turf to a fancy new artificial turf in time for the 2014 season. This move will bring to an end years of worrying about their practice and game field conditions and will allow the Fighting Irish players a chance to get comfortable training and playing on the same surface.
The surface that has been used the last few seasons was approaching unplayable levels. Last year the university installed new sod at the stadium three times, including once in the middle of the season. Obviously that couldn’t go on.
The move has been greeted warmly by most Notre Dame staff and players, including head coach Brian Kelly. Kelly, frustrated after an uneven training session on the poor grass surface, was quoted as sayin,; "Getting field turf is about getting consistency for our players. You saw it today – we can't even practice on that surface."
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick, perhaps in an attempt to soften the blow to those traditionalists who wanted to stay with ‘real’ grass, said the university would have preferred to stay with natural grass, but said field conditions in recent years made the change necessary. ''I was looking for a way to see if we could still do it, but I reached the conclusion, between the end of last season and this that we really couldn't. We needed to make the change now if we were going to give our student athletes the playing surface they deserve.''
The Irish open the new NCAA football season Aug. 30 at home against Rice.