Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Will state football championships return to Cowboys Stadium in 2013? UIL has 1-year option left on table
Houston, San Antonio are also options to host championship weekend
ARLINGTON — The UIL state football championships have had a home at Cowboys Stadium the last two years.
Whether the championships return to Arlington in 2013 will be up to the UIL. The governing body signed a one-year deal with an option for 2013 last summer, a UIL spokesperson told SportsDay.
UIL athletic director Mark Cousins isn’t tipping his hand on the future site just yet.
“We’re willing to listen and see what’s out there and see what’s available,” Cousins said Saturday. “We’ll be open to discussion.”
Reliant Stadium in Houston spent $1.2 million to install artificial turf this year, satisfying one of three necessary conditions to host the championship weekend.
Cousins said the two other preconditions were a climate-controlled venue and multiple locker rooms for teams to use while games are being played.
Cowboys Stadium, Reliant Stadium and San Antonio’s Alamodome all meet at least two of those criteria, Cousins said. Cowboys Stadium has the most locker rooms, which is a convenience for teams during a 10-game weekend.
“Cowboys Stadium has four full-size locker rooms,” Cousins said. UT-San Antonio “has done some things with the Alamodome, but I think their locker room situation is limited a little bit. The same is true with Reliant and their locker rooms. But those are the kinds of places that would be in consideration when we talk about what we do.”
The 5A state championships have been held at all three venues in the last five years. Reliant housed the finals in 2008, and the Alamodome hosted in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Cowboys Stadium hosted all of the 11-man championships in 2011 and 2012.
Cousins indicated he’d like the home of the state championships to stay in one place for the long term, similar to the way the state basketball tournament is held in Austin’s Frank Erwin Center every year.
“That’s something we’ll continue to talk to coaches about,” Cousins said. “I think it helps build some tradition and some history.”
Other options include rotating the site of all the championships from year to year, or splitting up the games across the state.
In addition to adding an artificial playing surface, Reliant Stadium — home of the NFL’s Houston Texans — will be installing video boards that will be even larger than the gigantic screens perched atop Cowboys Stadium.
Reliant Stadium officials have already made their desire to host the UIL state championships known.
“Are we going to go after it? Absolutely,” Reliant Stadium assistant general manager Juan Rodriguez told the Houston Chronicle last month. “We’d love to host them. It’s a great building for it, so why not?”
Brett Daniels, a Cowboys spokesman, said the organization would like to keep the championships in Arlington.
“We would love to have it back here every year,” Daniels said Saturday. “It’s a great event. High school football is very important to the Jones family and the Cowboys organization. It’s great to bring the kids in and let them play in Cowboys Stadium.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.