With less than a week to go before its home opener, South Carolina had to replace its field after a huge Jay-Z and Beyonce concert Tuesday damaged it.
About 40,000 fans – including some South Carolina players and head coach Will Muschamp – attended the show, which took place on top of a hard cover put over the field grass. It took concert staff a week to set up the venue, and when the cover was removed after the concert, the grass was dead.
However, the school planned for this situation. Clark Cox, one of the school’s assistant athletic directors, told the Associated Press that his grounds crew figured it might eventually have to replace the field when Willams-Brice Stadium was announced as a stop on the superstar couple’s On the Run II tour early last year.
”We would not have done this if we believed there was a safety issue,” Cox said. ”My job and our entire ground staff’s job, our No. 1 priority in everything we do is safety and welfare of our student-athletes.”
Concert officials provided the estimated $150,000-$200,000 required to replace the 90,000-plus square feet of grass. Luckily, with modern technology, the field replacement process was swift. The grounds crew removed the dead grass, 26 truckloads of sod were brought in, and machines sized and rolled out the new field.
Cox also noted that plenty of dual sports-entertainment venues have to go through this process frequently.
With their new field in place, the Gamecocks will open the season at noon September 1 at home against Coastal Carolina.
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