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NIU to be new home for IHSA state football

Published: Monday, June 11, 2012 8:02 p.m. CST

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois High School Association on Monday awarded the Competitive Dance State Finals to Bloomington’s U.S. Cellular Coliseum, but opted for Northern Illinois University in DeKalb for the state football finals rather than choosing Illinois State’s Hancock Stadium.

The first-ever Competitive Dance finals will be in January at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, which has been host for the IHSA Competitive Cheerleading State Finals since 2007. The Coliseum will be site for the dance finals for five years. Matt Hawkins, sports marketing manager of the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it is expected to bring in $750,000 annually in direct spending.

ISU, NIU and Southern Illinois submitted bids for the football state championship games in odd numbered years. A site was needed because the University of Illinois will be playing a Big Ten Conference game at Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend in odd numbered years, starting in 2013.

The IHSA’s agreement with Northern Illinois is for five years. The state finals will remain in Champaign in even numbered years.

Hancock Stadium was home to the state football finals from 1974 until 1999, when ISU requested they be moved because of potential conflicts with Redbird playoff games.

This story will be updated.

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©2012 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

Visit The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) at www.pantagraph.com

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