Decision could come

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

With another prep football season just around the corner, a decision on where the 2014 title games will be played is looming.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association may be moving football championship games out of Jackson, but nothing is official yet.

MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton denied reports Monday that the organization will move football championships out of Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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“We made no such announcement,” Hinton told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “We’re still in the proposal stage. We send out proposals to sites that may want to host and try to look at multiple year contracts and have not concluded that yet. The parties could be more than one site and we have not worked out all of the details.”

The Northeast Daily Journal in Tupelo reported Monday that the MHSAA has approved moving the football championships out of Jackson to rotate between Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss.

The report also stated that the MHSAA will announce the move later this week and the hold-up was due to finalizing contracts at the three new sites.

“We absolutely have talked about the championships moving. We do that in all of our sports,” he said. “We look at different venues and look to the universities and communities colleges to host all of our 15 different championships.”

One report says that there is a five-year plan on the table for rotating the state high school football championships. That plan would work like this;

MSU would host in 2014 and 2016, and Ole Miss would host in 2015 and 2017.

Southern Miss would host in 2018, and USM would also rotate with Montgomery as the host the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game. USM would host the All-Star Game in 2015 and 2017.

If the games are moved to a rotating basis, then it could translate into some interesting scenarios.

For example, Picayune has won two of the past three Class 5A state titles. In both cases, the Maroon Tide faced Starkville and Oxford.

That means, if the rotating proposal had been currently in place, head coach Dodd Lee’s team could have had to play Oxford in Oxford and Starkville in Starkville.

While those games wouldn’t have been played in the home stadiums of the Chargers or Yellow Jackets, it would have still meant long drives for Picayune and playing the opponents basically in their own backyards so to speak.

Hinton would not confirm reports of whether Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss are in the rotation to host the championships. Veterans Memorial, the current site of the December championships, is still being considered as a potential host in future years.

“We are in the process of looking at a change but at the same time, we’ve been playing these championships at Memorial Stadium and they’re in the mix too,” he said. “We’re not ready to make an announcement yet because the contracts are not finalized. We want to be able to make an announcement for the next three or four years.”

Hinton said the MHSAA hopes to come out with a statement regarding the future locations of the championships in the “next week or so.”