The University of Kansas has big plans for the future of its football facilities, but its ambitious goals might bring some unwelcome issues next season.
A multiphase $448 million renovation of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium may cause more disruption than originally anticipated and potentially force the Jayhawks to play home games next fall at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. KU chancellor Douglas Girod confirmed to the Lawrence Journal-World that the school has had some preliminary discussions with Arrowhead officials about using the stadium.
Coming off an 8-4 season that earned them a berth in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against UNLV on Dec. 26, the Jayhawks were already planning to reduce capacity at the 47,000-seat stadium in 2024. But now they’re concerned that playing games there next season would delay construction enough to miss the school’s goal to finish before the 2025 season.
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Girod believes that playing at Arrowhead is KU’s best alternative, if necessary, despite the potential negative impact it would have on local vendors and overall game attendance due to its inconvenient location, approximately an hour’s drive from campus. But for that to happen, they still need the Chiefs on board, and that’s not a given.
The Jayhawks’ full schedule isn’t out yet, but they do have home games scheduled for Aug. 31 and Sept. 14, 2024, which could create a conflict. The NFL schedule won’t be released until May. In any case, adding six more football contests would put a noticeable strain on Arrowhead’s natural grass surface.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Acrisure Stadium, which is also home to the Pitt Panthers football team, is often criticized for its field conditions. Elsewhere the University of South Florida is building a $340 million stadium on campus so it can stop playing games at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium.