BY BRANDON SPECK AND GENE PHELPS
A Mississippi High School Activities Association executive committee meeting that may have formalized the moving of the state football championships has been postponed.
The championships have been played at Jackson’s Veterans Memorial Stadium since 1992. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss will likely participate in a new three-campus rotation.
The Daily Journal reported Monday that the move had been approved and the announcement was likely to come at the meeting. But a source told the Journal on Tuesday evening that the meeting will be rescheduled. The source also said that college officials have been more than open to the new format.
A person close to the situation told the Journal on Monday the final steps are just a formality and that Mississippi State would host the six state championship games in December.
No details have been offered on how the remainder of the rotation would work.
Baldwyn head coach Michael Gray, who was an assistant on the Bearcats’ 2008 championship team, is fine if the event moves or if it doesn’t.
“Fifty-fifty. I think it is a positive move,” Gray said. “I think that stadium, hearsay, has issues and needs some revamp, but being able to bounce it back and forth from Oxford to Starkville will be neat. You get first-class facilities at both.”
Lafayette coach Eric Robertson led the Commodores to last year’s Class 4A state championship game. It wouldn’t hurt his feelings if the championships remain in Jackson.
“I have mixed feelings. I like playing in Jackson because it’s the state capital. We’ve always enjoyed our experience in Jackson, other than losing the game,” Robertson said.
“I’m for whatever Coach (Don) Hinton and the activities association decides. They make decisions based on what’s best for the kids. I’m going to be 100 percent for it, wherever it’s played.”
The idea of playing high school state championships at college or professional stadiums is not new. Alabama and Auburn have shared that state’s high school championship games the last five years.
Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell, who led the Yellow Jackets to the 2012 Class 5A championship in Jackson, embraces the possible move.
“I think a lot of us have the team motto of ‘Make it to Jackson,’ but that mindset could change,” Mitchell said. “My coaching buddies from Alabama have said they love playing at Alabama and Auburn.”