Updates on turf at stadium

Coach Mark Stoops’ announcement about turf at Commonwealth Stadium and the new practice facility was discussed early in the stadium renovation discussions … Here’s that blog post with a look at other schools, etc.

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One of hundreds of things that Kentucky will be pondering as it moves forward with a new $45 million practice facility is whether or not to change the playing surface at Commonwealth Stadium.

It was something brought up unsolicited by UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart as he discussed how the new facility will impact some of UK’s current ones.

“We’ll have to make the decision: Do we go to turf in the stadium, in the game-day stadium, in Commonwealth or do we stay at grass?” Barnhart asked aloud.

He argued that it might be in UK’s “best interest” to install turf at the stadium, per a discussion with Coach Mark Stoops, who would like to start using that facility more to better prepare his teams to play there. Turf is less maintenance and suffers less wear and tear with the extra use.

“I think it might be in our best interest to be turf in the stadium, indoor turf and two grass practice fields,” Barnhart continued. “It gives us lots of options in terms of practice.”

According to the UK athletics website, UK installed the stadium’s current Bermuda grass playing surface in 2005. It’s had several upgrades since the stadium opened.

If Kentucky were to move to a turf surface, it would be one of just five Southeastern Conference programs to do so. Other schools with synthetic surfaces include Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri.

The field at Florida State, where Stoops coached most recently, was Bermuda grass.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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