SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame Stadium needs new turf, but whether it'll be natural or artificial has yet to be decided.
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Friday that hybrid turf — which is what the Green Bay Packers use at Lambeau Field — isn't an option given the cost of maintaining it. The cost of natural grass vs. synthetic turf is about equal, according to Swarbrick, so those are the two options on the table.
A decision is expected sometime in January or February, as Notre Dame will need whatever turf it goes with ready for the mid-April spring game and May graduation ceremonies. Perhaps working against keeping natural grass is the need for a "complete rebuild" of the field, which Swarbrick said would require going all the way down to the base of the stadium.
"One of the reasons it's been so bad, we take off one layer of sod and put down another layer of sod," Swarbrick said. "We haven't addressed the real issues we have to address."
The natural grass at Notre Dame Stadium reached a laughably bad level for this year's final home game, with players frequently slipping and falling trying to make cuts and run on a cold, wintry day. But traditionalists point to Notre Dame Stadium always having natural grass, and going to synthetic turf would certainly cause an uproar from that section of the fanbase.
Even if Notre Dame sticks with natural grass, the stadium might undergo changes in the coming years. Swarbrick is hopeful to begin fundraising for stadium renovations in January and then begin work on those renovations following the 2014 season.
And as for another contentious point for traditionalists, Swarbrick said about adding a JumboTron: "The issue of video in the stadium will be resolved, addressed as part of a larger design ... It will be just one element of the figuring out of the design of the stadium."
In other words: It's on the table, and we should know more sometime in January.