Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said his administration would not consider artificial turf following another season in which the field was an issue throughout the latter part of the season.
“We’re not alone in that battle of taking care of practice and game fields,” Hart said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The Shields-Watkins field became an issue during the South Carolina and North Texas games to the point where it was reported by network broadcasts and ridiculed on social media. The field seemed to be mostly sand with little grass that would sometimes come up in chunks. The field has been the subject of much scrutiny by the media.
“I know there are some people with field fetish in the room,” Hart said, referring to the assembled reporters.
Hart said Tennessee isn’t the only program in the region that has had problems with game field fields. However, he offered no specific reason why the issues cropped up again nor how they might be remedied.
“We have an iconic stadium and we’re all on the same page,” Hart said. “We want a first class surface to play on.”