Amidst all of the March Madness basketball action, you may have missed some major news on the Tar Heel football front.
As first reported by Inside Carolina yesterday, Tar Heel athletic director Bubba Cunningham has officially approved the move to change Kenan Stadium from a natural grass surface to an artificial turf surface. Cunningham focused on the fact that Carolina has been monitoring the use of artificial surfaces throughout the last couple of season, and came to the conclusion that the switch to artificial turf was the best move for what the university wants to do with the stadium going forward. The installation is expected to be started and completed over the summer, starting on May 12th, following graduation in Kenan Stadium.
The switch comes after the renovations to Kenan Stadium in the offseason between the 2015 and 2016 season to install a new drainage system that has been put to the test over the last few seasons. While the drainage system helped field conditions throughout that 2016 season, the grass playing surface has been beat up due to constant use since the beginning of the 2017 season, after Fetzer Field and Navy Field were torn down to make room for the new facilities that are currently being finished up as we speak. The constant use left the field in shambles, especially towards the end of the season a year ago, and the natural grass surface hits it’s low point earlier this offseason, following a men’s lacrosse match.
Now, the field will much easier and cheaper to maintain, as the stadium goes to the RootZone 3D3 Blend synthetic grass field. The turf is design to better absorb impact and prevent injuries, something that the Heels could desperately use after two seasons of mass injury issues.
The coaching staff seems to be happy with the change, especially head coach Mack Brown, who headmanned the replacement of the natural playing surface with turf at Texas back in 2009. Coach Brown was emphatic about the fact that he wanted the same change to come to Chapel Hill, and now, just weeks after initial reports that the athletic association was considering the move, the football program has officially announced the move.