All high school state championship football games will be played at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium next month, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced last week.
While choosing a central location for all the schools to converge makes sense in general, we object to the OSSAA’s refusal to consider moving to a Tulsa location if both schools involved are from this side of the state.
In recent years, Tulsa teams have dominated OSSAA’s top 6A-I division. Jenks, Union, Owasso and Broken Arrow high schools have won the championships every year since 1995. Many times in those 23 years, they’ve been playing each other. Recently when that has happened, OSSAA has seen the logic of having the game in Tulsa.
But when OSSAA Director David Jackson was asked about that scenario this year, he said all the games will be in Edmond, citing the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association’s interest in mimicking the all-Dallas championship model in Texas.
“So when we hear from the (coaches association) that ‘we’re interested,’ we assume that means ‘we’re all interested.’ ”
We wouldn’t assume that’s the right choice, even if it is shared by all the coaches, which we doubt.
This year’s 6A-I brackets could easily put Jenks in the championship game against either Broken Arrow or Owasso, who meet in this week’s semifinal game, which is being played at Jenks.
Tulsa-area championship matchups seem less likely in lower division brackets this year, although the same scenario has played out there in the past.
This is not just about parochial pride, although that is a legitimate reason too. It is a safety issue. If two metropolitan Tulsa teams are squaring off, having the game in Tulsa means excited teenagers aren’t driving long distances at highway speeds in the dark in whatever weather occurs in December.
OSSAA is right to plan a central spot for its championships games ... until fact and logic show otherwise.
If only Tulsa teams are going to play in the last game of the year, OSSAA should do the right thing and move the game to Tulsa.