Story by Joe Brocato, MetroNews

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission has received four bids to host the state football championships in the next cycle from 2024-2026. Bluefield, Charleston, a joint bid from Morgantown and Huntington and Wheeling have formally submitted proposals to the WVSSAC to host the four championship games.

WVSSAC Executive Director David Price says the four bids are the most ever received in any bid process for the football title games. Formal proposals needed to be sent to the WVSSAC by January 12.

Representatives from each hosting location will make formal, in-person presentations to the WVSSAC Board of Directors this week. Following those meetings, WVSSAC officials will perform site visits to each location. A final decision on the host city is expected during the final week of January.

A fourth class has been added to football, starting in the 2024 season. A minimum seating capacity of 10,000 is required to host.

Here’s a primer on the cities and locations to submit proposals:

  • Wheeling – Wheeling Island Stadium has hosted the football championships since 1994. The stadium, which is home to Wheeling Park High School teams, recently added an expansive video scoreboard with replay capabilities in the south end zone of the stadium.
  • Bluefield – Mitchell Stadium was pitched as a host site in the most recent round of bidding in 2019. The stadium, which was constructed in 1936, is located on the border of Virginia and is the home to Bluefield High School, Graham High School, Bluefield University and Bluefield State University teams. Mitchell Stadium has been honored by USA Today Sports as “America’s Best High School Football Stadium”.
  • Charleston – University of Charleston Stadium, previously known as Laidley Field, was the most-recent host of the football championships until 1993. UC Stadium is the home to the UC Golden Eagles, Capital High School and the WVSSAC State Track & Field Championships. The 18,500-seat stadium is blocks away from the West Virginia State Capitol.
  • Morgantown/HuntingtonIn a unique proposal, representatives from Morgantown and Huntington have teamed up to host the championship games at West Virginia University’s Milan Puskar Stadium and Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium on an alternating basis. WVU hosted the championship games in 1988. Milan Puskar Stadium features a seating capacity of 60,000. Joan C. Edwards Stadium seats 38,000.

The WVSSAC is also seeking bids to host the cheer and volleyball state championships. Huntington’s Cam Henderson Center has recently hosted the cheer championships and the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center has hosted state volleyball for nearly two decades.