CHAMPAIGN — Is Champaign-Urbana liable to shedding its standing as a host of the IHSA football state championship video games?
It’s actually attainable now that the prep sports activities group has opened bidding for internet hosting duties hooked up to a five-year block of title video games between 2023 and 2027.
Will these video games fully transfer away from C-U for the primary time since 1999?
That query received’t be answered till December, when the IHSA Board of Directors acts upon the bids it receives.
There’s little doubt, nonetheless, that a number of massive gamers within the bidding course of hope the reply to each questions is a resounding “no.”
“It would undoubtedly be a loss,” mentioned Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County. “We know they take pleasure in having football in Champaign, and we wish to proceed that custom.”
“There’s no in poor health will concerning the expertise that our college students and our followers and our coaches and our faculties have had in attending there,” added IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “They’ve been good companions for us, and so this isn’t something in attempting to push any person out.
“Initially, we’d wish to see if there can be a dialog to probably permit the University of Illinois to host yearly.”
Illinois’ Memorial Stadium was the lone host for every state football ultimate between 1999 and 2012.
It has shared internet hosting duties with Northern Illinois’ Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on an every-other-year foundation from 2013 onward.
Memorial Stadium will function the battleground for 16 state finalists in Classes 1A via 8A later this yr, on Nov. 25 and 26.
How many extra state video games are held on Zuppke Field shall be decided by the IHSA board.
The greatest subject going through C-U and the UI is a requirement from the IHSA that “the location should assure availability of its amenities for all dates” related to the subsequent 5 state championship weekends.
Some of these dates between 2023 and 2027 are assured to conflict with beforehand scheduled Illinois football video games.
Illinois athletics spokesman Kent Brown mentioned the Illini and Northwestern are slated to rotate internet hosting their annual Big Ten matchup all through this five-year IHSA state football block.
“The transfer to completely take a residence sport out of Memorial Stadium, even for 5 years, would trigger a ripple impact on all Big Ten schedules,” Brown mentioned. “We don’t actually know but if that’s even attainable.”
When requested if she envisions C-U and the UI submitting a bid to host for the subsequent 5 years, DeLuce responded, “Yes, I do.”
“We don’t have any purpose to not put in a bid, and we drastically wish to have football proceed right here,” DeLuce mentioned. “We have a distinctive state of affairs, as all people is aware of, primarily based on the Big Ten schedule. We can solely do it each different yr until they’d change the Northwestern sport.
“That’s been talked about earlier than. I don’t anticipate that occurring.”
So would the IHSA board be open to retaining its present two-host mannequin?
“I don’t know that they’re completely in opposition to it,” Anderson mentioned. “But the primary alternative of the board can be to see if there can be a location to make sense to lock in as a single location for 5 years.”
Anderson mentioned he anticipates that C-U and the UI will place a bid. He additionally thinks Normal/Illinois State and DeKalb/Northern Illinois will wind up as choices and added that Carbondale/Southern Illinois delivered a proposal final time the bidding course of was open.
“There’s a hope the University of Illinois will discover a approach to bid, even when the every-year choice isn’t accessible,” Anderson mentioned. “Our groups journey to wherever we are saying we’re going to host it and, happily, fan bases have adopted in both route.
“But I feel simply attempting to supply some consistency, just like the place we’re at in our different actions and sports activities, had a little bit to do with it.”
Brown mentioned Illinois officers haven’t had a probability to totally talk about the bidding course of, for the reason that IHSA Board of Directors printed its bid specs simply this week.
“Hopefully we’ll get a probability to in a short time put our heads collectively and determine what this all means,” he mentioned. “We really feel very assured in how the championships have been run right here at Memorial Stadium. We have a nice relationship with the IHSA. I feel it will simply be no matter determination the IHSA makes on this.”
DeLuce mentioned she doesn’t really feel something vital wants to vary from the C-U/UI bid versus what was submitted through the earlier spherical of proposals.
“What I like is working with the oldsters in DeKalb,” she mentioned. “We’ve created two good experiences.
“It works. Theoretically, it ought to be capable to proceed. It additional impacts us being a sports activities group. And, let’s face it, highschool gamers love taking part in at Memorial Stadium. How are you able to not?”