The high school football state championship games will no longer be held in the Tacoma Dome.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Executive Board voted Sunday not to renew its contract with the Tacoma Dome as the host site for the state-title games, citing “fan experience” and “financial implications” as the primary reasons in its news release.
“Ultimately, the Executive Board needed to evaluate whether holding the Gridiron Classic in the Tacoma Dome made sense for the Association, student-participants and fans,” WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said in the release. “Costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football.”
The WIAA said it plans to survey new potential host sites and finalize locations in the fall. According to the release, the change likely brings an end to the single-site championship format for football. Instead, the title games likely will be held at various locations across the state.
The Tacoma Dome has long held the title games for all six classifications over a two-day span on a Friday and Saturday, usually during the first weekend in December.
“While the Tacoma Dome offered the ability to have all state championship football games in one location, we anticipate that using multiple sites will have its own benefits,” Colbrese said. “Fans will see lower ticket prices by no longer paying the service fees associated with the Dome, and related costs of attending the event, such as parking and concessions, will be significantly reduced as well.”
The Tacoma Dome, which underwent renovations last summer that affected sight lines for football, has hosted the state championship games for football since 1995, when it replaced the Kingdome as the host site. The Tacoma Dome also hosted many state semifinal football games over the years, but the WIAA ended that arrangement in 2016 because of increased rental fees.
The Class 4A and 3A state basketball tournaments and the state wrestling tournaments will continue to be held in the Tacoma Dome.
“The Tacoma community and the Tacoma Dome have been great hosts for many WIAA state championships over the years,” Colbrese said. “They will continue to provide an exceptional experience for the WIAA Mat Classic and Hardwood Classic events.”
Football seeding committees announced
A handful of local athletic directors and coaches were among those selected to the seeding committees for this season’s football state playoffs.
The WIAA announced last week who will serve on the six committees, each of which will be tasked with seeding the state-playoff brackets for one of the six classifications. An application process was used to select committee members.
Robert Polk, the athletic director for both the Northwest District and the Everett School District, was one of nine members selected to the 4A committee.
Snohomish athletic director Mark Perry, who was the Panthers’ head football coach for 18 seasons before stepping down in 2012, is one of nine 3A committee members.
Lakewood coach Dan Teeter, in his 14th season as the Cougars’ head coach, is one of eight members on the 2A committee.
South Whidbey athletic director Paul Lagerstedt and former area football coach Bill Marsh, who coached at Cedar Park Christian and Archbishop Murphy, are among the eight 1A committee members.
Fourth-year Darrington coach Buck Marsh, who also serves as the school district’s superintendent and athletic director, is one of nine 1B committee members.
This will be the WIAA’s second year using committees to seed the football state playoffs.
Teams still qualify for state through their respective districts. After the field of state qualifiers is set, the committees determine the brackets by seeding teams based on their performances throughout the season.