Football title games to get second home

The IHSA announced Thursday the state football championships will alternate between Illinois’ Memorial Stadium and another location because of a scheduling conflict beginning in 2013.

Due to the Big Ten Conference’s expansion, Memorial Stadium will be needed by the Illini football team to host a game every other season during Thanksgiving weekend starting in 2013. The IHSA has been holding the state title games on that same weekend in Champaign since 1999.

“We are certainly disappointed, but very understanding,” IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a release. “The University of Illinois has given us a world-class facility in Memorial Stadium to contest our state finals and the entire Champaign-Urbana community has offered a first-class atmosphere for the competing schools and fans. We look forward to returning the IHSA football state finals to Memorial Stadium every other year and will begin to investigate other potential sites to host the finals in the years that the University of Illinois is unable to host.”

The state championship games were previously played at Illinois State’s Hancock Stadium from 1974-1998. There was also a four-year stretch in the 1980s where the 5A and 6A games were held at Northwestern.