During the last several months, News-Gazette reporter Ben Zigterman has kept up with the process of Champaign-Urbana attempting to reacquire hosting duties for the IHSA boys’ basketball state tournament.
The bidding portion of that process concluded Friday, courtesy an IHSA-set deadline for applications to host both the boys’ and girls’ state series beginning in 2021 and ending in 2023.
We’ll now wait a little longer, as the IHSA Board of Directors is slated to act on March 21 and decide who will land coveted hosting duties.
But basketball isn’t the only high school sport which could experience a change in its state tournament location.
Both swimming and diving and softball have hosting bid specifics posted on the IHSA website’s home page.
The former sport (boys and girls) possesses an application deadline of Feb. 28 for a hosting period of 2020 through 2023, while the latter is open for hosting bids until May 22 and covers 2021 through 2025.
I don’t bring up these sports so much to suggest the possibility our coverage area could attempt to bid for hosting duties, as Champaign-Urbana geared up to do in boys’ basketball.
I’m more so interested in the direction of future girls’ swim and dive, boys’ swim and dive and softball state tournaments, as it pertains to where they’ll take place and what is necessary to find them their next homes. The girls’ state swim and dive meet is in Winnetka, the boys’ state swim and dive meet is in Evanston and state softball takes place in East Peoria.
This all could remain the same after the bidding process, if the same hosts apply and wind up the best options in the IHSA board members’ eyes.
What’s intriguing is all of the different standards any host would have to meet in order to even consider applying.
One starting spot in swim and dive is a minimum seating requirement of 1,200. There are several bullet points outlining specific measurements a pool must abide by.
Softball’s minimum seating figure is 2,000. Diamond sizes are treated the same way as pool size in swim and dive bidding.
Both bids need to consider hotel availability, security and parking concerns, locker room facilities and much more.
This all might seem obvious when state tournaments get underway. Just think about when football is here every other year, or when wrestling drops in each February. It takes an entire community effort to run those state series events.
But when actually planning out a bid, I could see it being overwhelming. If someone overlooks just one item, an entire bid could be shot.
Therefore, if Champaign-Urbana does achieve its goal of bringing the boys’ basketball state series back to town, it’ll be clear that a great deal of work went into making that a reality.
Something our Ben Zigterman no doubt will spend just a little more time writing about.