With Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium’s future in doubt, the MHSAA is going to have to start thinking about a new place to hold the football state championships. As I mentioned in a post earlier today, that facility oughta be torn down, and our editorial writer agrees. It has served its purpose.
The 67-year-old stadium has a capacity of 60,492, which is about three times too big for a high school state championship. Just down I-20 in Clinton is Mississippi College’s Robinson-Hale Stadium, but it only seats 8,500. That used to be the championship venue until 1991, when Tupelo and Moss Point flooded the facility with fans.
Last year’s Class 5A state title game between South Panola and George County drew an estimated 18,000 fans (the 4A game drew about 9,000). That’s a lot of folks, but the atmosphere gets swallowed up inside that concrete bowl.
One possibility is to rotate the games between Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. But those places are big, too, and I know Dr. Ennis Proctor, the MHSAA executive director, wants the event centrally located.
Maybe I’m overly concerned with the atmosphere aspect, but it just doesn’t feel like a high school football game at Memorial Stadium. If Jackson State gets new digs like it wants, that would be an option, because it’ll be reasonably sized.
I can’t think of any other possible venues. If the stadium indeed comes down, the MHSAA is going to be in a pinch. That could be a ways off, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it.