JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced several changes to its postseason venues, including moving the football championships from Jackson to the campus stadiums at Mississippi State and Mississippi.
MHSAA executive director Don Hinton said Monday that the football championships will be played at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium in 2014 and 2016 and at Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in 2015 and 2017.
The football championships have been played at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson since 1992. Hinton said the biggest reason for the switch is the move gives the MHSAA a chance to host its games at Southeastern Conference-quality stadiums.
“It’s about giving the experience for our student-athletes to be able to play in those facilities,” Hinton said.
Hinton said the six championship games combined to draw about 25,000 fans in 2012 before a steep decline in 2013, which was largely attributed to unseasonably cold weather. He hopes the six games can draw at least 30,000 at the campus sites.
Southern Mississippi will host the Mississippi/Alabama Football Classic in 2015 and 2017. It will be the first time in the event’s 27-year history that the game will be played in Mississippi.
The game will be played at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, in 2014 and 2016.
“We really feel like it’s a great opportunity for the University of Southern Mississippi to showcase their facilities and bring these terrific athletes every other year to their facility,” Hinton said.
The state’s basketball tournament for both boys and girls will be expanded to include the quarterfinals, which bumps the total number of games from 36 to 84. Most games will be played at the Mississippi Coliseum, but the boys’ quarterfinals will be hosted by Jackson State.
The MHSAA also announced that the state championship games for both football and basketball will continue to be televised.
Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP