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Notre Dame Athletic Director Says Football Field Will Switch From Natural Grass To FieldTurf

Notre Dame's natural grass football field does not look good for the Fighting Irish's spring game today, but athletic director Jack Swarbrick says a turf surface is on the way. 

">@Matt_Fortuna: Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick is on NBC Sports Network right now saying the stadium will transition to FieldTurf.

— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken)

RT @Matt_Fortuna: Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick is on NBC Sports Network right now saying the stadium will transition to FieldTurf.

— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 12, 2014

">April 12, 2014

Earlier: For as long as football has been played in South Bend, Ind., it has been played on a natural grass field. It might finally be time for Notre Dame's football program to opt for a synthetic turf surface, though.

">@nbcsportsnet pic.twitter.com/44yWn5qHUM

— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan)

Glorious day at Notre Dame. Looks like we lucked out on weather for Saturdays scrimmage on @nbcsportsnetpic.twitter.com/44yWn5qHUM

— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) April 11, 2014

">April 11, 2014

The Fighting Irish have been flirting with the idea of implementing a turf field for years, something traditionalists have long opposed. This winter, athletic director Jack Swarbrick said a decision would be made soon.

“The calendar will force a decision on us,” Swarbrick said. “Whatever solution we’re implementing, we’re going to have to start the day after commencement. The next day, the bulldozers have to move into the Stadium. And you need bulldozers no matter which way you go.”

Commencement at Notre Dame is May 18. If Swarbrick decides that a turf field is the way to go, construction likely wouldn't be completed until a week before the Fighting Irish's season opening game against Rice Aug. 30. 

“It will take right up until the season no matter which way we go,” Swarbrick said. “Either way, you’d be a little pressed on time. We’ll get it done.”

Staying with a natural grass field would require work, too. 

“As we contemplate this, I keep trying to reinforce the point that if we stay with natural grass, it is not less of a construction project than the turf,” Swarbrick said. “We’re going to have to go down, way down and rebuild this field from bedrock up to get the kind of surface we want if we do grass.”

Notre Dame has been practicing on a turf surface at the LaBar Practice Fields and at the Loftus Sports Center. The schools Brian Kelly previously coached at, Central Michigan and Cincinnati, both had FieldTurf playing surfaces. Most spread offenses--which Kelly employs--seem to fare better on the faster surface.