CHAMPAIGN — Parkland will host three girls' basketball games and two junior college games today.
It will only get busier next weekend.
Due to an NCAA-mandated change, next Saturday's State Farm Shootout at the Hall will be played at Parkland's 2,000-seat gym. The seven-game boys' basketball showcase, featuring three Illinois recruits and several other Division I prospects, was to be played at the Assembly Hall for a sixth consecutive year.
In April, the NCAA passed legislation that prohibits Division I schools from hosting non-scholastic basketball events on campus if prospective student-athletes are participating. The Shootout at the Hall meets that definition because it is organized by a non-scholastic organization: the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB).
NCAA schools could be sanctioned for allowing the events to take place. As a result, recent tournaments at college sites in Peoria, Lexington, Ky., and Durham, N.C., were canceled.
Illinois was informed Thursday that it would be in violation of NCAA rules if the event took place.
"The last thing we want to do is get Illinois in trouble," said Cory Hatfield of the CCCVB. "It's unfortunate for the student-athlete not to get the chance to play on (Illinois') court."
Hatfield wasn't sure if all 14 teams will honor their commitment to the event. Three of the seven matchups — Mahomet-Seymour against Normal University High, Urbana against St. Thomas More and Collinsville against Belleville East — were existing games on the schedule, the teams agreeing to move their games to the Assembly Hall. Whether Collinsville and Belleville make the nearly three-hour drive to play at Parkland remains to be seen.
Hatfield said the event won't be canceled.
"I'm confident we will have games (next) Saturday," he said. "It just might not be the magnitude we imagined."
Parkland athletic director Rod Lovett said Friday he's excited to host the event. The Cobras' gym is available because the school's men's and women's basketball teams are on the road next Saturday.
"Disappointing," said Centennial coach Tim Lavin, whose Chargers are scheduled to play Chicago Curie. "It's good to play the team we're playing but everybody — coaches, players, everybody involved — wants to play on the University of Illinois floor."
Said Urbana coach Vashoune Russell: "The guys have been begging to get in it the last couple years. They will definitely be disappointed. The thrill of being there won't be the same at Parkland, but at the same time, they will want to go out and play."
Rantoul is scheduled to play Chicago Hope.
"Playing at the Assembly Hall would be great," Rantoul coach Brett Frerichs said, "but just to get the opportunity to play a team of Chicago Hope's caliber. ... It's a letdown, obviously, but we got to play there last year. We'll be able to bounce back. Parkland's a nice gym. We'll deal with it."