Bowling Green wanted to keep its high school sports championships, and it looks like it got its wish.
Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett confirmed to the Daily News this morning that both the KHSAA football state championships and the KHSAA girls’ basketball state championship will be back in Bowling Green this upcoming season.
“We will be scheduling an announcement coming in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We are trying to work out the final details of the sponsorship arrangements with a couple of the new entities in Bowling Green.”
The city’s contracts for football – played at Houchens-Smith Stadium at Western Kentucky University – and girls’ basketball – played at E.A. Diddle at WKU – expired this past season.
It was almost a given that the Houchens Industries KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen would return after a record 43,679 fans watched 15 games during four days in March.
But the football title games, played on the first weekend in December, saw fewer than 48,000 fans walk through the gates at WKU. A little more than 13,000 of those fans attended the Class 4A final between nearby Allen County-Scottsville and Boyle County.
“The most important thing we had to have was the corporate community step up,” Tackett explained. “Like it or not, it’s increased travel for a lot of our participants to come to Bowling Green. When you deal with land mass, it’s one thing as far as who’s east and west, but when you deal with population, (Kentucky’s is) primarily in the east. So we’ve tried to work that out so we could help with the travel expenses, et cetera. The Bowling Green people have stepped up.”
Tackett would not release the details of the negotiations or the specific sponsors that allowed the two championship events to stay at WKU.
“We have had some people step forward, some old friends of ours, and (Western Kentucky University) has stepped forward and we very much desired to keep those two championships in Bowling Green,” he said. “If I were the people down there, I would plan on the traffic jams at the same time of year.”