(HOI) – The boys basketball state finals will no longer play in Peoria.
The Illinois High School Association board of directors announced Monday the tournament that’s been hosted in Peoria for the last 25 years will be moving to the State Farm Center in Champaign starting 2021.
“We see this as the passing of the torch from Peoria to Champaign-Urbana,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “It is bittersweet because there is incredible passion for high school basketball within these two communities, and both have done so much to elevate the state final experience as hosts. The State Farm Center is one of the best arenas in the country, and we are excited to crown state champions there once again. The timing simply felt right to make a change as the tournament format shifts in 2021.”
The state final hosting bid was a joint proposal from the University of Illinois, the Fighting Illini Athletic Department, State Farm Center, Visit Champaign County, and the Champaign-Urbana communities.
The proposal is a three-year bid encompassing the 2021 (March 11-13), 2022 (March 10-12) and 2023 (March 9-11) state tournaments.
Peoria did place a bid earlier this year to host both boys and girls tournaments.
The IHSA has not released its statement on whether the girls tournament will remain at Redbird Arena in Normal, as of 1:20 p.m. Monday.
“It’s difficult to express how grateful we are to the city of Peoria, the Civic Center, the surrounding communities, and the army of volunteers who have so vigorously supported the state tournament for a quarter of a century in Peoria,” Anderson. “We understand there may be some initial disappointment, but ultimately, we hope they are as proud as we are for overseeing one of the most decorated eras in IHSA basketball with class, grace, and innovation. We love Peoria and look forward to the numerous IHSA events we will continue to conduct there.”
The IHSA Girls Basketball state finals will remain at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal for the next three seasons.
Redbird Arena has served as the host of the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals since 1992, and has also hosted the IHSA Girls Volleyball State Finals since 1990.