The Kansas House on Thursday rejected legislation aimed at holding high school championship football games at Kansas University and Kansas State University.
House Bill 2801 failed 55-68.
On Wednesday, the measure had just barely advanced and, given comments from lawmakers, it appeared it wouldn't get final approval.
The measure would have recommended the Kansas State High School Activities Association to use KU's Memorial Stadium and K-State's Bill Snyder Family Stadium for state championship high school games.
"We are trying to send a message," said Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, who supported the bill. "You have the ability to create a wonderful lifetime experience for young people. This may be the highlight of their life."
But the KSHSAA said the bill represented unnecessary interference.
"We don't feel like the Legislature needs to be involved in helping us decide where our post-season games should be," said Rick Bowden, assistant executive director of KSHSAA.
Bowden said KSHSAA already has the option of negotiating with the two universities for their facilities, but several lawmakers were critical of KSHSAA for not using it.
The last state championship football games played at Memorial Stadium were in 2003. No state high school championship game has been in Manhattan since 1997.
Bowden said it's less expensive and more convenient to play all championship games at 1 p.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at smaller venues across the state.
He said it used to be when two or three championship games were played on the same day at KU or K-State, students and families had to pay for lodging because of the early and late kickoff times.
Opening and using large stadiums also costs more, he said.
And, he said, when the crowd is no larger than 7,000 people, the atmosphere of the game is diluted in a 50,000 seat stadium.