Tech to host future TSSAA bowl games

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s BlueCross Bowl will return to Tech for an additional two years. Over the summer, the TSSAA Board of Control voted to hold its annual state high school football championship at Tech’s Tucker Stadium until at least 2012. This year the games are scheduled for Dec. 2-4.

Many students may remember the games from last year and the parking problems it created.

“Our campus is so small,” said Billie Kibler, senior geology student. “They should have it at a bigger campus where they can accommodate the parking and all the people that will be coming in to see these high school teams play.”

Last year, the BlueCross Bowl brought in more than 21,000 people. Parking accommodations for the spectators and athletes took up a large portion of campus. TSSAA parking stretched from 12th Street to University Drive and from North Dixie Avenue to Willow Avenue. These areas include the north commuter parking lot behind the library, the Hooper Eblen Center lot, and all parking around Foster Hall, Johnson Hall, Pennebaker Hall and the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

Though parking becomes an irritable problem during the games, the Championship brings in a large amount of revenue for Tech and for Cookeville.

Last year the Putnam County retail sales at food and drink locations was approximately $1.1 million above December expectations, according to Henry Bowman, Upper Cumberland Development senior analyst. Also, the Cookeville hotels had a considerable jump in profit over the previous year because of the championship.

Not all students are against the incoming mass of people.

“It does gain the campus a lot of exposure for prospective students and family members,” said Melody Adams, junior psychology student. “It gives everyone a chance to see what we having going on campus and the University. It also gains us a lot more funding.”

With so many high school students coming to play and watch the championships, it gives Tech an excellent chance to get future students. Not only does it gain prospective students’ attention, but their parents are also able to see the University up close, instead of reading about it online. The parents have a chance to experience the campus first hand, which encourages them to consider it for their child’s academic future.

Some students seem to feel this event reflects negatively on Tech.

“Where are the students going to park that are already going there?” argued Kibler. “That’s bad publicity because with everyone complaining about not being able to park or get to class on time, that would turn people away from us.”

Kibler, like some other students, thinks Tech should start smaller.

“You want good things to say about the school, and this one thing is bad,” she said. “When a lot of people hear one thing that is bad, they tell 10 people. But when something good happens, not many people say anything.”

Tickets for the BlueCross Bowl can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 1 W. First St., and online at www.cookevillechampions.com. Tickets cost $12 each and are for one day of events. Discounted rates are available for groups of 10 or more.