Georgia high schools furious to be playing state finals at home fields instead of promised Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Georgia high schools furious to be playing state finals at home fields instead of promised Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Georgia high schools furious to be playing state finals at home fields instead of promised Mercedes-Benz Stadium

It’s not uncommon for NFL franchises to offer up their facilities to high schools associations to host their state title games. That was the expected plan in Georgia, until snow got in the way.

Put aside for a moment the fact that a surprisingly heavy snowstorm led to postponements of state football games that were scheduled to be held indoors and consider this: Not only are teams now playing on high school campuses to decide a state title, half of them are now saddled with playing a state title game on the road.

Cranes poke through the retractible roof under construction inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team in Atlanta, Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The challenge with the retractable roof has been installing the eight triangular steel petals that would enable it to retract and open like a camera lens. Water-tight seals are being installed on the petals, then it'll take eight weeks to place fluorine-based plastic on them, a spokeswoman said. In early June, workers will bring the petals together for proper alignment with the help of two gigantic crawler-cranes. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

“This is what we said we’d do,’’ GHSA executive director Dr. Robin Hines told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Plans were already in place for these schools to go and host the games. That’s how the first four rounds were done. For many, many years before the finals moved into the Georgia Dome [in 2008], that’s the way the GHSA had done it. After weighing everything, we made the decision to stick to the plan.’’

It’s one thing for backup plans to be established with the express intent that there is a negligible chance that they’ll be called upon because the scheduled contests were taking place in a state of the art domed stadium. After all, there had been no significant postponements in GHSA football playoffs in 70 years before Friday.

It’s another thing entirely to actually follow that plan when someone decides to cancel that state title games because its snowing outside. Remember: There was a state of the art indoor facility at their disposal.

Now there’s not, and the plan is apparently to follow through on the original contingency plan, whether it was ever truly considered or not.

“Are you kidding? This is a joke,’’ Rome coach John Reid told the AJC. “No plan. We have yet to be told how this will play out. Our fans, our band, etc., are supposed to drive through Atlanta on Friday afternoon four hours, and this is the plan for the state championship?’’

MTV and coaching legend Rush Propst, of Colquitt County, made it very clear: If part of the GHSA’s goal is to promote youth football, Propst and others contend they’re currently doing anything but by sending his school and others more than 200 miles to play what was expected to be hosted in a dome.

“They’ve got to have a better contingency plan,’’ Propst told the Journal-Consitution.

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Georgia high schools furious to be playing state finals at home fields instead of promised Mercedes-Benz Stadium
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