A scheduling conflict with the Dallas Cowboys could force the UIL to move all of its football state championship games in 2015 to another venue, and the Alamodome would be among the options for an alternate site, a UIL spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon.
Dallas is scheduled to host the New York Jets at 7:25 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Week 15 game will be nationally televised by the NFL Network. The NFL released its 2015 schedule Tuesday.
Tentative dates for the UIL title games are Thursday, Dec., 17, through Dec. 19. Three championship games, including both Class 6A finals, are scheduled Dec. 19.
“There is a conflict,” UIL media coordinator Kate Hector said. “The Cowboys are exploring options with the NFL to see if they can change that game, and the UIL is exploring options for other venues.”
The University Interscholastic League is the governing body for extracurricular activities in Texas public schools.
If the Cowboys can’t move their Dec. 19 game against the Jets, the Alamodome and NRG Stadium in Houston are the only other facilities in the state that would meet the UIL’s criteria for a site.
“The requirements for the football venue are they have to be in a climate-controlled stadium, and have to have artificial turf,” Hector said. “So the Alamodome meets those two qualifications, as does NRG Stadium in Houston.”
If the Cowboys’ stadium isn’t available to the UIL on Dec. 19, all of the UIL’s championship games would be played at the alternate site over three days, Hector said.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from our coaches and fans about the central site, having all the games in one location over the three days,” Hector said. “Even with the two six-man games being at the same location. So there are no plans right now to separate the games and play in different venues.”
The Alamodome is generally booked on weekends throughout the year, said Michael Sawaya, director of the city’s convention and sports facilities, but he expressed confidence accommodations could be made for the UIL’s title games.
“We generally have to move some things around to make those things work when we have opportunities come up,” Sawaya said. “Our staff at the Alamodome is working on that to see if those things can happen. We’re confident that for something of this magnitude, we’d be able to do that.
“But time is going to tell. We have to communicate with others who are planning on those days. There are logistics involved. When you have one convention center and one sports stadium of that size, you’re always going to have that – moving things around to accommodate events.”
San Antonio hosted the UIL boys and girls basketball state tournaments for the first time last month, with every game played at the Alamodome. The Alamodome and its staff got high marks from UIL officials, coaches, players and fans.
“We have a good relationship with the UIL,” Sawaya said. “We did talk with them when they here that in the event that it ever came around that they wanted to look at playing football (at the Alamodome), of course, we’d sit down with them and try to work something out.
“We’ve already got things in place from previous negotiations, so it wouldn’t be a problem to host all the games. We’ve hosted those games before, so it wouldn’t be a new approach for us. We are interested and we are in dialogue with them.”
Football state-championship games have been played at the Alamodome in the past, but the facility never been the central site for title contests in each classification.
AT&T Stadium has been the site for all 11-man UIL title games each of the past five seasons. The two six-man finals, played a week before the 11-man championship games, were moved to AT&T Stadium in 2013. The UIL holds a one-year extension option in its existing agreement with AT&T Stadium.
The total attendance for the 12 title games last year was 250,652, including a crowd of 52,308 that watched Allen beat Cypress Ranch for the 6A Division I crown on Dec. 20.