Amarillo ISD Explains Decision to Move Big Game

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Officials with the Amarillo Independent School District knew they had a problem on their hands when the district football schedule was determined earlier this year.

The highest attended football game of the season, Tascosa versus Amarillo High, was scheduled to be played during the same week as the annual Tri-State Fair. That’s a problem since the venues for those events are right next to each other and crowds at both events are huge.

Last month, the Amarillo ISD announced the decision to move the game to the West Texas A&M football stadium in Canyon. Along with the decision, came a press release to clarify the reasons for the move.

“AISD is moving the Amarillo High vs Tascosa football game on September 23rd at 7:00 PM to Bain-Shaeffer Buffalo Stadium (West Texas A&M Stadium). The athletic department is providing some information to help stakeholders understand this decision.

District 2-5A football includes four different school districts - Amarillo ISD, Lubbock ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, and Abilene ISD. When creating a district schedule, schools draw the dates for each game. It takes all school districts to agree if you try to change dates after the district draw. Unfortunately, all four school districts did not approve of moving games. Therefore, we are bound by the dates we drew.

The AHS-THS game drew the September 23rd date. This date falls on the last weekend of the Tri-State Fair. This presents enormous parking challenges as we share the parking lot with the Tri-State Fairgrounds. With the anticipation of a huge crowd and the knowledge of prior years when the game falls on Fair week, we outlined several problems faced with keeping this game at Dick Bivins Stadium this year.

1. We have had fans not be able to attend, or could not find parking, or did not get into the stadium until halftime due to the walk from where they finally did park their vehicles. Many fans were stranded for several house in traffic congestion trying to leave the stadium.

2. Emergency plans for the stadium must include a staging area if an event happens, consisting of the fairgrounds or a designated area in the parking lot. The large game crowd and vehicles from people attending the fair would negate emergency personnel from using this area.

3. If additional emergency vehicles are needed, the traffic congestion diminishes timely access to the stadium.

4. Bussing fans into the stadium from an offsite parking area is not an option as we would still have problems with getting the buses into the parking lot.

After much discussion, the AISD administration agreed that moving the game to West Texas A&M Stadium, capable of holding 12,000 fans, would be a preferred choice for this year. While some feel it takes away from the game’s history, we think it is the best option. In addition, we are very appreciative of the WTAMU administration for making their facility available.”

Mike Roden

Mike Roden

Mike Roden was born and raised right here in the Texas Panhandle in Memphis.