UA, Auburn team up to bid for state championships

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TUSCALOOSA — High school football and basketball players in state championship games may get a feel for what it’s like to play at Alabama and Auburn in the future.

Groups from Tuscaloosa and the Auburn area submitted a joint bid Monday to play the state title games in alternate years at Alabama and Auburn’s football stadiums and basketball coliseums during 2010-2013.

Bids to host the games were also submitted by Birmingham and Mobile. Birmingham has hosted the football championships at Legion Field as well as boys and girls basketball championship events since 1996.

Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation executive director Don Staley said the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s central board will make the final decision.

The bids went to the Bruno Event Team at the Alabama Sports Foundation offices in Birmingham. The team has a contract with the AHSAA to market the events.

Under the joint proposal, the University of Alabama would host the football championships at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2011 and 2013 and Auburn would host them in 2010 and 2012. UA would host basketball at Coleman Coliseum in 2010 and 2012 while Auburn would be the host in 2011 and 2013.

AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, who is attending AHSAA basketball regionals, said Tuesday there is no current timeline for the board to make a final ruling. He said it would not evaluate the bid process until after the state prep basketball championships, which will be held next Tuesday through Saturday at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham.

The Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation started to lure the championships and other athletic events to Tuscaloosa last May.

“We feel like we did due diligence,” Stanley said. “We worked with the appropriate officials to help make this presentable. It’s potentially huge economically for the community.”

The Tuscaloosa News reported that the deadline to submit bids, originally set in December, was extended twice in order for the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau to meet with new Auburn football coach Gene Chizik to enlist his support.