At the annual town hall meeting back in April, Texas Longhorns athletics director Chris Del Conte fielded a question about the playing surface at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and indicated that a change was coming.
Just not the change desired by a vocal portion of the fanbase.
“In the football stadium, I do anticipate probably changing the rug this year — we’ve got to do something because that thing is about 12 years old, but that does not mean that we will not go to grass at some point in time,” Del Conte said.
On Friday, Del Conte tweeted out a picture of the FieldTurf’s removal at the stadium.
Install of the new “rug” and South End zone project are progressing nicely…September is right around the corner but first let’s take care of business in Omaha pic.twitter.com/yuQ3g4AmxH— Chris Del Conte (@_delconte) June 25, 2021
Artificial turf was originally installed at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in 1969 before Texas spent $1.25 million to put in Prescription Athletic Turf in 1996. In 2002, it cost $75,000 to make the switch to TifSport Certified Bermuda grass, but that only lasted until 2009 when a choppy and dangerous playing surface for the season’s final home game against Texas A&M prompted the administration to install the FieldTurf surface that Del Conte is now replacing.
New Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian did not publicly express a preference for a natural or artificial surface — saying he merely wanted a “good playing surface” — while Del Conte said that the school needed to further evaluate how the new south end zone would impact growing patterns for grass turf.
For now, the Longhorns are sticking with FieldTurf.