HOOVER, Ala. — Commonwealth Stadium will be getting a head-to-turf renovation by the 2015 season.
At the annual Southeastern Conference Media Days, Coach Mark Stoops confirmed Kentucky's plan to move to a synthetic surface.
"It looks like we will go to turf after this season," he said Thursday. "They've got to come in and put a bunch of cranes on there and tear up the field anyway, and we've been thinking about it."
He said the current Bermuda grass playing surface installed in 2005 has been "disappointing."
"Our grounds crew does a phenomenal job, they work their tails off, they do an incredible job, but the fact of the matter is we can't get on that field very much," Stoops said.
Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart hinted at the move away from grass while discussing the new football practice facility a few months ago.
He argued that it might be best for UK to install turf at the renovated stadium after a discussion with Stoops, who would like to start using that facility more to better prepare his teams to play there.
Turf requires less maintenance and suffers less wear and tear with the extra use.
"It might be in our best interest to be turf in the stadium, indoor turf and two grass practice fields," Barnhart said. "It gives us lots of options in terms of practice."
If Kentucky were to move to a turf surface, it would be one of just five SEC programs to do so. Other schools with synthetic surfaces are Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Vanderbilt
The field at Florida State, where Stoops coached most recently, was Bermuda grass.
Preseason events still in works
Commonwealth Stadium construction isn't likely to cause any problems for the team during fall camp, but it has made planning pre-season events more complicated.
UK officials are still deciding how to handle the team's annual Fan Day, an open practice and autograph session, usually held in early August at the stadium.
There has been talk of moving it to the indoor practice facility, but nothing is set in stone.
"That's one of the things we're discussing," UK's Nathan Schwake told the Herald-Leader. "That place can get somewhat hot during the day. On an unseasonably warm day, like if it's 100, what can we do to make sure everybody is safe? Do we pass out water? Do we bring fans in there?"
The marketing staff has discussed moving it to another venue in town but could run into compliance problems and would like to stay on campus.
The Kentucky women's clinic, which is scheduled for July 26, opted to move away from the stadium this season and into the indoor practice facility to avoid conflicts.
There are still spots open for the event, which costs $75 per person, by calling (859) 257-3611 or online at ukathletics.com.
UK also is discussing an open house, possibly to coincide with the women's clinic, to give guided tours of the construction progress.
"We're trying to be as accommodating as we can be to people who want to check it out," Schwake said, adding that UK plans to make announcements soon.
Stoops did not seem to think the stadium construction was going to affect his practice schedule, which usually includes a couple of preseason scrimmages.
"I don't anticipate any change," he said. "When we need to get in there, we're going to be in the stadium."
In his first chat with the media of the season, Stoops gave a couple of roster updates:
■ Of freshman safety Mike Edwards, who tweeted recently that he was not enrolling in the fall because he is having shoulder surgery, the UK head coach said he hopes to get Edwards in January. Edwards is the only incoming freshman who is not on campus, the head coach said.
■ Junior-college linebacker Ryan Flannigan will be on campus and ready to go when UK starts camp in early August, Stoops said.
Kentucky senior Alvin "Bud" Dupree was the only Wildcat to receive All-SEC recognition when the league's preseason teams were announced Thursday.
The teams were chosen by the media in attendance at SEC Media Days.
Dupree, a 6-foot-4, 267-pound defensive end from Irwinton, Ga., was named to the All-SEC second team.
Alabama, the media's choice to win the league championship, dominated the All-SEC first team with nine selections. Defending champion Auburn was next with four first-team choices, followed by Georgia, Mississippi and Texas A&M with three apiece.
Auburn led the league with 13 selections across all three All-SEC squads. The Tigers were followed by Alabama with 11, LSU with 10, Georgia with nine and Mississippi with eight.
Vanderbilt was the only school with no All-SEC selections.