The SCHSL have reached an agreement to move the Class 4A and 3A state championships to Clemson in 2011. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports that Clemson will not charge the SCHSL for use of the facility. Williams-Brice Stadium had charged the SCHSL to use the Gamecocks home stadium for the state championship games according to the report. Kevin Melton also reports that it is a one year agreement:
The Class 2A state championships are set to move to Benedict College in Columbia. The Class 2A coaches are on the verge of splitting their classification to two divisions:
Here's how the state championship schedule looks in 2011
Friday November 25th: Class 1A state championships (Division I and II) at Benedict College in Columbia
Friday, December 2nd: Class 2A state championships (one or two games TBD) at Benedict
Saturday, December 3rd: Class 4A (Div I and II) and Class 3A state championships at Memorial Stadium in Clemson
WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis is the host of the Chevy End Zone and has covered South Carolina high school football for 11 years. Here's his take on the shift in venues:
When I arrived in 2000, it was a simple setup. The Class 4A Division II game was on Friday night in Columbia followed by four state title games at Williams-Brice on Saturday. Now, the SCHSL has splintered the classifications to seven and the state championships will take place over three separate days.
I feel bad for the Class 1A and 2A kids. It's always fun to watch how wide eyed the kids get when they walk on the field for the first time. It's a thrill of a lifetime for a South Carolina high school football player to play either in Death Valley or at Williams-Brice. But that's gone now.
It's always been about dollars and cents. That is why the football state championships are being split up seven ways, while other sports have just four state champions. Football gets the best gate, there's no debating that. This is a way for schools across the board to be more profitable and help fund their overall athletic programs. Earlier this week, I posted in my blog about simplifying the SCHSL divisions. I think it sounds a whole lot better for there to be a Class 1A through 6A champ then to split the divisions. Doesn't it sound better to be a Class 6A champ than a Class 4A Division I champion?
I also find it interesting that the South Carolina/Clemson rivalry plays a central role in this as well. This rivalry is so intense, that both sides fight over who should get the high school state championships! Now that Clemson has painted itself as the good guy by offering Memorial Stadium for free, will South Carolina respond by donating Williams-Brice down the road?
If I was in charge, here's what I would do to keep everyone in the state happy (relatively speaking of course)
The Class 4A and 3A state championships (or 5A, 6A and 7A in my world) would rotate each year between Clemson and South Carolina (assuming both were donating the facility) - a great tripleheader of big school title games.
The Class 2A and 1A state championships (or 1A through 4A) would rotate between the FCS schools in South Carolina (SC State, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Wofford, Citadel). You can play a two games on a Friday and two on Saturday. The smaller venue would be packed with fans and the smaller schools still get the thrill of playing in a big venue.