NIU submits bid to host Illinois’ high school football championship games

By The Associated Press

Illinois State University in Normal, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb have submitted bids to host Illinois’ high school football championship games in odd-numbered years starting in 2013.

The University of Illinois in Champaign will continue to host the eight games over Thanksgiving weekend in even-numbered years. But due to the expansion of the Big Ten Conference, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) needs another venue to stage the games.

The bidding process was discussed during Tuesday’s meeting of the IHSA board in Bloomington. The board will make a decision June 11.

The contract for a new location will cover five championship weekends (2013 through 2021).

The first IHSA football championship games were played at ISU’s Hancock Stadium in 1974 and continued there until 1999, when the U of I took over. There was a four-year stretch in the early 1980s when the IHSA split the title games between two venues. Classes 1A through 4A played at ISU, while Classes 5A and 6A played at Northwestern University in Evanston.