Notre Dame football to play Blue-Gold Game on practice field

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame's annual Blue-Gold Game won't be leaving campus.

Irish head football coach Brian Kelly said Monday that his team will play the end-of-spring scrimmage at the LaBar Practice Complex, where the Irish football team practices regularly.

Construction for the Campus Crossroads Project will prevent the Irish from using Notre Dame Stadium, like normal. The scrimmage will be played on April 18.

Kelly said Notre Dame is currently in the process of arranging temporary seating for the game. However, Notre Dame will not be selling tickets to the general public, and admission will be on an invitation-only basis.

Kelly estimated the temporary seating will allow for 2,500-3,000 people to attend. The game drew 27,986 spectators at Notre Dame Stadium last spring.

It has yet to be determined if the game will be televised through NBC or one of its properties, as has been the case the past few years.

A Notre Dame spokesperson indicated the Irish considered both Alumni Stadium (soccer) and Arlotta Family Lacrosse Stadium as locations before settling on the football practice fields.

The potential for bad weather ruled out using the natural grass surface at Alumni Stadium. Using the lacrosse field, which is artificial turf, would require changing of the lines to football and then back to lacrosse during lacrosse season.

The LaBar Practice Complex has three football fields — two made of artificial turf and one of natural grass.

Keeping the scrimmage on campus allows Notre Dame's coaching staff to have face-to-face contact with recruits who travel to South Bend for the event.

If the Irish were to hold the event off campus, they would have needed a waiver from the NCAA to allow contact with recruits in the 2016 class and younger. Without the waiver, recruits could still attend but would not be allowed to meet with the coaches at the site.

Holding the event somewhere else in South Bend or in other suggested venues like Chicago's Soldier Field or Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis would have created a potential recruiting conflict.

The Blue-Gold Game traditionally serves as one of Notre Dame's biggest recruiting weekends of the spring.

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

The entrance to Notre Dame's LaBar Practice Complex on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. (SBT File Photo)
All five Notre Dame quarterbacks line up during the first football practice of the season at the LaBar Practice Complex on the Notre Dame Campus in South Bend on Saturday, August 6, 2011. (SBT File Photo)