IOWA CITY – A public spring football practice will return to Iowa in 2020, but this year fans will have to wait until August to catch a glimpse of the Hawkeyes.
Replacement of the turf at Kinnick Stadium and a review of the field drainage system at the facility will force Iowa to forego the usual opportunity it gives fans to take an early look at the team.
“This is going to be one-time situation, just this year,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday.
Ferentz said the timing of the project complicated things and will keep the Hawkeyes out of Kinnick Stadium throughout their 15 spring practices.
“We want them to get on it as fast as they can so we will be good to go on it when fall camp opens in August,’’ Ferentz said, adding that Iowa plans to host its annual public Kids Day scrimmage at the stadium during fall camp.
Flooding in and around Kinnick Stadium last summer prompted the project that will replace turf that was installed just two years ago.
Construction is expected to begin as soon as weather allows and a contractor is selected to review the drainage system.
“While the affected area from last summer was 100 percent repaired and safe for play in 2018, there is a long-term need to replace the turf this summer,’’ Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta said in a statement. “We explored options for a public practice at an alternate venue, but we did not find a suitable option.’’
The turf that was damaged by the flooding was covered by insurance.
Field graphics on the new turf will remain unchanged from the past two seasons.
With no public practice, Ferentz said a number of players will participate in a Meet the Hawkeyes spring autograph session to be held in conjunction with the Iowa baseball program.
Selected football players will sign autographs at a session held on April 20 when the Hawkeye baseball team hosts Nebraska in a 2 p.m. game at Duane Banks Field.
Details for the autograph session and a special spring Hawk Talk with Kirk Ferentz radio broadcast featuring the Iowa coach and Hawkeye play-by-play voice Gary Dolphin will be announced as plans are finalized.