Mar. 24—CHAMPAIGN — Is Champaign-Urbana liable to dropping its standing as a host of the IHSA football state championship video games?
It’s definitely doable 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 utterly transfer away from C-U for the primary time since 1999?
That query will not be answered till December, when the IHSA Board of Directors acts upon the bids it receives.
There’s little question, nevertheless, that a number of huge gamers within the bidding course of hope the reply to each questions is a resounding “no.”
“It would undoubtedly be a loss,” stated Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County. “We know they get pleasure from having football in Champaign, and we wish to proceed that custom.”
“There’s no ailing 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 is not something in making an attempt to push anyone out.
“Initially, we would prefer to see if there could 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 12 months, on Nov. 25 and 26.
How many extra state video games are held on Zuppke Field will probably be decided by the IHSA board.
The greatest situation going through C-U and the UI is a requirement from the IHSA that “the positioning 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 stated 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 stated. “We do not actually know but if that’s even doable.”
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 haven’t any purpose to not put in a bid, and we enormously wish to have football proceed right here,” DeLuce stated. “We have a distinctive scenario, as all people is aware of, primarily based on the Big Ten schedule. We can solely do it each different 12 months until they’d change the Northwestern sport.
“That’s been talked about earlier than. I do not anticipate that occurring.”
So would the IHSA board be open to retaining its present two-host mannequin?
“I do not know that they’re completely towards it,” Anderson stated. “But the primary selection of the board could be to see if there could be a location to make sense to lock in as a single location for 5 years.”
Anderson stated 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 method to bid, even when the every-year possibility is not obtainable,” Anderson stated. “Our groups journey to wherever we are saying we will host it and, luckily, fan bases have adopted in both route.
“But I feel simply making an attempt to offer some consistency, much like the place we’re at in our different actions and sports activities, had a little bit to do with it.”
Brown stated Illinois officers have not had a likelihood to totally focus on the bidding course of, because the IHSA Board of Directors revealed its bid specs simply this week.
“Hopefully we’ll get a likelihood to in a short time put our heads collectively and resolve what this all means,” he stated. “We really feel very assured in how the championships had been run right here at Memorial Stadium. We have a nice relationship with the IHSA. I feel it will simply be no matter choice the IHSA makes on this.”
DeLuce stated she does not really feel something vital wants to alter from the C-U/UI bid versus what was submitted throughout the earlier spherical of proposals.
“What I like is working with the oldsters in DeKalb,” she stated. “We’ve created two good experiences.
“It works. Theoretically, it ought to have the ability 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?”