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KHSAA to move finals for high school football and girls basketball to Lexington

Enough of these scattered championship tournaments, Lexington is title town!

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association announced today that they plan to move both the high school football championships and the Girls Sweet 16 basketball tournament to Lexington in coming years.

For the first time since 1976, the Kentucky state champions in every division - Class A to Class 6A - will be crowned in Lexington. The move to Kroger field comes after the games have been played at Western Kentucky University since 2009. The decision was made after two consecutive years of rescheduling games around the Conference USA title game.

“Football is so key to us from a revenue standpoint,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said. “We’ve had a great relationship with Western (Kentucky), just like we had a great relationship with Louisville, but we just felt from a business standpoint we can’t be in a position two weeks before an event to have to change the schedule again, and therefore impact moms and dads and cousins that can come. It was a tough call for the board. That’s a tough one.”

The Girls Sweet 16 will make one more appearance at Northern Kentucky University, but will join the Boys Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena in 2019.

“You look at being able to take away anybody being able to say the boys and the girls are different in this day when we’re preaching equity so much,” Tackett said. “I realize the (University of Kentucky) doesn’t play all of their (women’s) games at Rupp. But when they do, it’s a special time. We need to see if capturing that aura does the same thing for the girls as it did for the boys when we first brought it back (to Rupp).”

Having attended the Boys Sweet 16 in Rupp this year, Tackett’s commentary is spot-on. It is a magical moment for these high schoolers to get to run out on Cawood Court, and that honor should also be made available to the outstanding girls teams from around the state.

These moves make total sense across the board. With an increase of teams from eastern Kentucky playing for and winning state championships, it makes no sense to have everyone travel to the other end of the state. Louisville could be a viable location, but with the renovations to Papa John’s Stadium there is no way that football could be played there this fall. And, of course, the Yum Center just does not have nostalgic feel of Rupp Arena.

Even more so than before, it seems that Lexington is emerging as the mecca of athletics for the state. Do you think Lexington is the best spot to host all of these high school events?