July 21, 2014 10:38:59 PM
Brandon Walker - [email protected]
STARKVILLE - When Mississippi State opens the 2014 football season, the Bulldogs will do so in the state's biggest football stadium.
Renovations and an expansion to MSU's Davis Wade Stadium are ongoing, and will be unveiled when the Bulldogs open the season against Southern Mississippi on Aug. 30.
And in December, the state's top high school teams will enjoy the same stage as the Bulldogs and Eagles, as Davis Wade Stadium will serve as host to the 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association state championship games.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the city of Starkville and Mississippi State University to showcase the newly renovated and expanded Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field," said MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin.
MSU will host state championship games in 2014 and 2016 after a new four-year deal with the MHSAA was announced on Monday. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ole Miss will host championship weekend in 2015 and 2017.
"Our decision was based on the facility," said MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton at the association's press conference on Monday. "The bottom line is that student-athletes in this state grow up wanting to play in these SEC stadiums. Now, they are getting that chance.
"After looking at proposals and weighing all the options, we decided it would be beneficial to move these games."
On Mississippi State's current roster, 16 players had the opportunity to compete for a state championship in one of the MHSAA's six classifications, with eight of those winning state championships. All of those titles were won in Jackson's Veterans Memorial Stadium, which has hosted every championship game since 1992.
Now, future Bulldogs and Rebels will be afforded the opportunity to play at one of the state's two SEC stadiums during their high school careers.
The title games will take place at the school that does not host the Egg Bowl in that particular season.
"Parents and fans will have the unique opportunity to watch their kids play in a Southeastern Conference stadium for a state title," said Stricklin. "With the Egg Bowl being played in Oxford in 2014 and 2016, our field will be in tremendous condition."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat