CHAMPAIGN (AP) — Illinois' boys' high school basketball tournament will return to the Urbana-Champaign area, resuming a tradition that began in 1919, the Illinois High School Association announced Monday.
The IHSA voted in a virtual meeting prompted by the coronavirus pandemic to return the tournament to the University of Illinois campus for the first time since 1995. The boys' tournament moved to Peoria's Civic Center in 1996.
While praising Peoria for its passionate basketball fans, IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a statement it was the right time to return the tournament to Champaign.
"The State Farm Center is one of the best arenas in the country, and we are excited to crown state champions there once again," Anderson said. "The timing simply felt right to make a change as the tournament format shifts in 2021."
Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said in a statement the university is "grateful" to the IHSA and its leadership for choosing State Farm Center and Urbana-Champaign to host the state finals.
Champaign made a bid five years ago to regain the boys' tournament, but State Farm Center was undergoing major renovations, and Peoria held on to the event.
The girls' basketball tournament will remain in Normal.