Giving the committee even more reason to pause is the proliferation of artificial turf fields in the last 10 years. At last unofficial count, there will be 36 such fields around the state when the 2013 season begins (see graphic; Preston and Clay-Battelle hope to have their fields and adjoining facilities completed by then).
At one time, the available turf fields were located in just a few pockets of West Virginia and some schools would have lengthy trips to play at the closest one. Now, however, there aren't many schools too far from one.
Ray, though, points out that several of those turf fields would be unavailable for high school playoff games - such as those at West Virginia University, Marshall and some state colleges.
"I think there's really only 26 or 27 we can use,'' Ray said, "and that's the problem.''
Both AAA semifinals were played on turf fields this year (Morgantown at Cabell Midland, George Washington at Martinsburg), as well as the Bridgeport at Keyser AA game.
"We want to do what's in the best interests of the game,'' Ray said, "but at the same time, we want what's best for the kids as well. We want to give the local communities the chance to host.
"I've been accused of stretching things, but not to the point of safety.''
Ray himself will be out of action for a while in the coming weeks, as he's scheduled for hip replacement surgery on Jan. 11.
The Super Six finals have been held at Wheeling Island Stadium since 1994, and that facility installed field turf in 2004.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.