OKLAHOMA CITY — All seven Oklahoma state championship football games in 2019 will be played at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced Wednesday in association with UCO.
Games in the Class 6A Division I, 6A Division II, 5A, 4A and 3A classifications will be played over a two-day period, Dec. 6-7, and the 2A-A title games will be held Dec. 14.
“There are many factors that have come together to make this happen,” OSSAA director David Jackson said. “Luckily, this year, UCO’s fantastic stadium was available and their administration was more than willing to help make it a reality.”
Wantland Stadium seats about 10,000 and the new North Hamilton Annex will provide ample locker room space to accommodate two teams playing in the stadium and the next two teams that are due to arrive, said UCO athletics Eddie Griffin.
“We’re excited at UCO to host probably some of the best football in the country,” Griffin said. “We’re excited to show off our facility and our university, and we’re looking forward to some great games coming in December.”
Jackson said the OSSAA followed the lead of the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, which has been pushing the past two or three years for something similar to the Texas model, where all 12 championship games are played in AT&T Stadium over a four-day period.
“I think a lot of our members see what goes on in Texas … and where they understand that we don’t have AT&T and that’s been a tradition down there for some time, they still wanted us to pursue something that might work for us,” Jackson said.
Jackson and Griffin agreed that if the first year is successful, a three-to-five-year deal will be likely in the offing.
“We hope that after each group makes their evaluations, we can see this as a win-win for both and find a way to make it a long-term agreement because we like the prospects of that,” Jackson said.
One of the first questions at the news conference was whether the OSSAA would have leeway to move a potential all-Tulsa 6AI final to the University of Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium.
In 2014, when its five-year contract with Oklahoma State University was coming to an end, the OSSAA moved the Jenks-Union final from Stillwater back to Tulsa.
But it likely wouldn’t do the same thing this time, Jackson said.
“One of the positives that went into pursuing this was working with the coaches association and those schools (Owasso, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union) are part of that,” he said. “So when we hear from the (OFCA) that ‘we’re interested,’ we assume that means ‘we’re all interested.’ ”
Jackson said some schools in the lower classifications might have to travel great distances to play in Edmond.
“What we often find is that when you have a chance to go to a great facility and you’re treated well, that eliminates a lot of skepticism about travel,” he said.