IHSA To Vote On Basketball State Final Venue Monday

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The venue for the boys and girls state finals will come to a vote Monday.

The Illinois High School Association announced Wednesday that the board of directors will discuss and vote on the host venues for the IHSA boys’ and girls’ basketball state final tournaments for the three-year period of 2021-2023 when it meets in a virtual meeting on Monday, June 15.

“It had initially been my intention to hold off on making a decision on host venues until the IHSA Board of Directors were able to meet again in person,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said via a media statement. “However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact our timeline, we have reached a juncture where we believe it will become detrimental to the potential host venue or venues, as well as our staff, if we continue to wait any longer. Monday’s Board meeting will be conducted remotely via a video conference call. We appreciate the patience of everyone involved in this process.”

The boys state final tournament, which has been hosted by the Civic Center in Peoria since 1996, is being bid on by Peoria’s largest venue and the home basketball venue for Bradley University men’s program and the State Farm Center in Champaign, which is the home venue for Illinois men’s and women’s basketball.

The state boys tournament was hosted in Champaign for 76 years from 1919-95 as the then-called Assembly Hall played home to the event from the building’s opening in 1963 to 1995. The State Farm Center went through a $169.5-million reinvention to the building that was completed in 2015.

One of the main selling points of Peoria keeping its bid for the boys’ state tournament is the IHSA being able to set up an interactive event at the city’s Civic Center called the ‘March Madness Experience’ in the 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall.

While the State Farm Center has hosted exempt high school games since losing the bid of the state finals to Peoria, bringing the event referred to as Illinois’ March Madness back to Champaign would be seen as a major recruiting win for the Illini men’s basketball program.

The Civic Center in Peoria and Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena will be discussed and voted on to host the girls’ state tournament finals. The girls state tournament has been held at ISU’s Redbird Arena since 1992 after being at Champaign’s Assembly Hall from 1978. 

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