SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Tough decisions concerning school gyms

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 04:29 PM.

There have been many discussions since Crestview High School's boys basketball team was forced to move Saturday's Class 7A region final game with Oviedo High School from the Crestview gym to the Northwest Florida State College Arena in Niceville because of insufficient seating.

I've talked to several fans and have seen several posts on Facebook indicating most locals were unhappy with the move, even before the Bulldogs lost.

I hear you and I understand the frustration.

Crestview High School's administration wasn't happy about the move, but the Florida High School Athletic Association has certain rules that — like them or not — must be followed.

Personally, I think there's something wrong with the FHSAA requiring seating capacities for arenas in any sport.The FHSAA doesn't have to stretch the already overextended district school budgets to build new facilities that accommodate standards they set.

The fact is, Crestview's gym doesn't seat the mandated 1,100 people required for a Class 7A region final. Crestview athletic director Tim Hatten and CHS Principal Bob Jones both said they sold a little more than 800 tickets for the region semi-final game with Lincoln. Anybody at that game will tell you it was a packed house with fans standing along the walls.

If you get right down to it, Niceville's gym isn't any bigger than Crestview's gym. Fort Walton Beach's gym might just slip in at around 1,100 fans, but I'd be surprised if it did. Choctawhatchee High School probably has the largest seating capacity of any high school gym in the county. I'm going to research the gym sizes in the next week or two.

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