MHSAA announces venue for high school football championships
Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2020
The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced that this year’s football championships will be held at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson in December.
The games will be split between Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 at the 60,000 person stadium to allow for more social distancing and to make it easier for fans and players alike to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“We are excited about the opportunity to return the Gridiron Classic to a place with such a storied history in Mississippi. There have been so many great moments and memories for our schools over the years at Memorial Stadium. This has been, and continues to be, a challenging year for all of us due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s no different for our schools and communities in Mississippi as together we all try to navigate unprecedented circumstances,” MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said.
In the most recent years the championships rotated between the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.
However, because college football programs have had to alter their schedules to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic those normal venues weren’t going to be available for this year’s championships.
Jackson State will be able to effectively host the games this year because their football season has been pushed back to February of 2021, so the stadium was open for MHSAA to use.
““Our universities in Mississippi are dealing with many of the same issues as our public and parochial schools. Their football games and athletic events are under attendance limitations just as with MHSAA schools. Colleges are restricting tailgating for students, alumni and fans. Understandably, administrators are doing their best to avoid hosting any additional events on campus — especially those that would bring crowds. Memorial Stadium offers a unique option because the stadium’s capacity is large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend the Gridiron Classic under the current attendance restrictions. Yet these games won’t be played on a college campus and won’t create any challenges or issues for staff and students and day-to-day operations at Jackson State,” Hinton said.
Jackson State has hosted the basketball championships for the MHSAA the past four years, so it made sense that once the football stadium was available the MHSAA would use its previous relationship with the school to come to an arrangement.