LAWRENCE – After one game, the Kansas women’s soccer team can’t play at its new facility in the multi-million dollar Rock Chalk Park because of poor conditions on the grass field.
KU athletics officials say an usually mild summer contributed to the poor conditions. After opening with a 3-1 victory over Wyoming on Friday night, KU was forced to move its Sunday game against Southern Methodist to its previous home, the on-campus Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The Jayhawks defeated SMU 3-0.
Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony says the team could be out of its new home until mid-September.
“The Bermuda grass that was installed needed a typical hot Kansas summer to take hold,” Marchiony said. “And as you know, we didn’t get that until last week.”
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As a result, Kansas’ opener against Wyoming was played on a field that still had noticeable areas of sand and more divots as the night went on. Marchiony said the KU soccer program will remain at Jayhawk Soccer Complex for this weekend’s games against Texas-San Antonio and Wake Forest. The Jayhawks then hit the road the following weekend before returning home to face Cal State Northridge on Sept. 12.
KU officials are hopeful the new field will be ready by then.
“It’s just going to be a matter of giving the grass time to grow in,” Marchiony said.
The new soccer facility is part of the $39 million Rock Chalk Park, which is located in west Lawrence and also has new facilities for track and field and softball. The track facility held the Kansas Relays last spring, while the soccer and softball facilities were set to open this fall.
Built in partnership with Bliss Sports, an entity run by local developer Thomas Fritzel, Rock Chalk Park will cost KU athletics around $1.3 million in annual lease payments over the next 30 years.