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Sports

IHSA to select state basketball host sites on Monday

Montini's Sophie Sullivan handles the ball against Simeon in March during the IHSA Class 3A girls basketball state tournament at Redbird Arena in Normal.
Montini's Sophie Sullivan handles the ball against Simeon in March during the IHSA Class 3A girls basketball state tournament at Redbird Arena in Normal.

The IHSA board of directors will vote Monday on state basketball hosting bids for boys and girls basketball tournaments from 2021 through 2023.

The Peoria Civic Center in Peoria and State Farm Center in Champaign entered bids to host the boys tournament. The Peoria Civic Center and Illinois State’s Redbird Arena entered bids to host the girls tournament.

The Civic Center has bid to host both the boys and girls tournament, and bid separately to host the boys tournament only.

The IHSA’s meeting will take place virtually.

“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 in a 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 pandemic wiped out this year’s boys basketball finals and the entire spring sports season. Only just this week has the IHSA allowed limited summer workouts for its member schools.

The Peoria Civic Center has hosted the boys basketball state finals since 1996. The University of Illinois hosted the event for 77 years prior to that. Both Peoria and Champaign entered bids last time the contract was up in 2015. The IHSA voted to keep the event in Peoria.

State Farm Center in Champaign recently underwent a $169.5 million renovation project, which was completed in 2016.

For the girls, Redbird Arena has hosted the event since 1992. Illinois State hosted the first girls state finals in 1977, then Champaign hosted the event from 1978-1991.

The new bids will coincide with a change in the format. No longer will Class 1A and 2A state finals be held during a separate weekend as the Class 3A and 4A finals.

All four girls classes will be held on a Thursday through Saturday during the first weekend in March, and all four boys classes will be held on a Thursday through Saturday one week later. Four teams from each class will still advance to state, but the exact scheduling format for each event has yet to be announced. The IHSA has said it would prefer to continue playing third-place games.

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