URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois football team has kicked off the preseason a little closer to home.

After nearly 20 years of trekking about 15 miles north to Rantoul for summer training camp, the team had its first day of practice Monday at the new Campus Recreation Fields, The News-Gazette reported .

University officials decided last year to utilize the practice fields that are adjacent to the team’s Memorial Stadium.

School buses will transport players and staff to the Campus Recreation Fields for the duration of the summer training camp.

The practice sessions are open to the public, but bleachers don’t include much relief from the sun.

“Fans might want to bring an umbrella and a lawn chair,” said Holly Stalcup, Illinois’ associate athletic director for event management.

The football team likely will use the recreation fields for training camp next year as construction is underway for a new football performance center, which is expected to be completed by 2019.

“When the building’s done, who knows, but there’s not a lot of schools who stay on their grass fields all year long,” said Tim Knox, director of football operations. “Purdue goes somewhere else to practice. Northwestern does, too. And coach wants to be on grass as much as possible.”


Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com