FHSAA looking elsewhere for state softball finals
Two months after USF was awarded negotiating rights to host the state high school softball championships at its new stadium, the Florida High School Athletic Association has ended negotiations with the Bulls and is working to have the tournament return to Clermont for the next two years.
"Negotiations ceased with USF because the school and the FHSAA differed on a few points in the potential contract and it couldn't be worked out," the FHSAA's Seth Polansky wrote in an e-mail Wednesday night. "The Association is currently exploring the option of returning to the National Training Center in Clermont. Talks have been ongoing about a possible return to the venue."
Polansky would not elaborate on the sticking points that held up negotiations with USF, and it's unknown what kind of financial demands the FHSAA had placed on securing the softball bid. USF opened its new softball stadium to rave reviews this spring with the hopes of being able to bring in other tournaments such as the FHSAA finals, which would put the state's top high school teams on campus, a bonus for the Bulls' recruiting efforts. USF executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday night.
The Tampa area has hosted the state's softball championships for eight of the last 10 years, with the Ed Radice Sports Complex hosting from 2002-05 and Plant City Stadium hosting from 2006-09. Clermont hosted the tournament for the past two years.