IHSA Board Selects Football & Dance State Final Sites

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA offices in Bloomington on Monday, June 11, 2012, where they approved recommendations to accept a pair of state final hosting bids.

The Board tabbed U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington to host the inaugural IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals, while DeKalb and Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium will host the IHSA’s eight Football State Championship games in odds years beginning in 2013.

Both winning bids encompass five-year hosting terms. U.S. Cellular Coliseum will host the first-ever IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals in January and continue to host the event in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. U.S. Cellular Coliseum has also hosted the IHSA Competitive Cheerleading State Finals since 2007, the second year of the event.

“The IHSA Cheerleading State Finals have developed into an elite event at U.S. Cellular Coliseum and we look forward to the Competitive Dance state meet following suit,” said Hickman. “The Dance State Finals will incorporate many of the same elements as the Cheer state meet, while also introducing some new challenges. Given the great relationship we enjoy with both U.S. Cellular Coliseum and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, we feel very confident that we will house a second top notch state final event at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.”

The IHSA’s eight football title games will be held in DeKalb on Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. The games will remain at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign in even years (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020). The schedule variation was necessitated by a change in the Big Ten Conference football schedule that will have the University of Illinois playing home games on the IHSA state final weekend in odd years.

Huskie Stadium becomes the fourth-ever host site for the state football title games. Illinois State University hosted the games from their inception in 1974 until 1998 and the University of Illinois has been the championship home since 1999. From 1981-1984, Northwestern University hosted the two largest class games (5A & 6A), while the 1A-4A games were played at ISU.

Hickman pointed out a unique portion of Northern Illinois University’s football bid that caught the attention of the IHSA staff and Board.

“Athletic Directors from over 100 IHSA member schools signed the bid, pledging their support for playing the games in DeKalb,” said Hickman. “Schools from as far away as Galva, Peoria Richwoods and Zion-Benton, places you don’t necessarily associate with DeKalb. It went a long way to showing us how much it meant to the entire region to have the state championships played there. Ultimately, all three football bids were extremely strong and almost interchangeable.”

Other bids in football included Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Illinois State University in Normal, while Dance bids were also submitted by Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center, Moline’s iWireless Center, Springfield’s Prairie Capital Convention Center and the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

“We are honored to receive so many strong bids in both football and dance,” added Hickman. “We are appreciative of all the venues and communities who wanted to host and be associated with our state final events. It helps validate that not only are these events impactful on the participants and fans, but that they are also positive influences on the local communities.”