The rain from Hurricane Dorian will provide the first stress test for the new artificial turf at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
Earlier this year, Carolina announced it would switch from natural grass to artificial turf in the football stadium. With natural grass, the field was often rain-soaked and sloppy on game day if it stormed on Friday or Saturday. The drainage system with artificial turf will allow the field to retain its condition –despite the rain.
“Installing synthetic grass at Kenan Stadium not only is the best option for our football team and football game days,” said UNC director of athletics Bubba Cunningham when announcing the move. “It also benefits our other varsity programs that may want to use Kenan as a conditioning space.”
If the new artificial turf — and its drainage system — works, we’ll certainly find out this weekend.
Hurricane Dorian is slowly moving up the east coast of the United States. The Category 2 hurricane is not currently expected to directly impact the Chapel Hill area, but rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. Some areas of North Carolina could receive as much as 5 to 10 inches of rain, with the coast expecting a foot or more.
🚨 SOLD OUT 🚨
Saturday’s game vs. Miami is sold out. Should be an amazing atmosphere.
There are a limited number of tickets available for Duke, and don’t forget to secure your seats for Virginia and Mercer.
— Carolina Football (@TarHeelFootball) September 3, 2019
“I’m gonna let Bubba [Cunningham] worry about the one coming up the coast because he’s got a lot more experience with that than I do,” said Brown. “I’m gonna take our team wherever they tell us to play. I think right now everybody thinks it’ll be in Kenan Stadium.”
Miami athletic director Blake James provided a similar statement to the Miami Herald:
“We are in communication with North Carolina officials and will continue to monitor the storm,” James said. “At this time, we do not believe there will be any changes to our plans.”
This is not the first time in recent years that hurricanes have affected Carolina’s football schedule. Last year, a game between UNC and Central Florida in Chapel Hill was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.
In 2016, North Carolina and Virginia Tech played through the rains from Hurricane Matthew. The Hokies won 34-3 in a sloppy game that featured virtually no passing from either team.