NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The state football championship games are coming full circle.

The Illinois High School Association board decides in favor of bringing the high school football championships back to Normal starting next fall. The IHSA is moving the state title games to Illinois State’s Hancock Stadium where the state’s first high school football championships were played in 1974.

Hancock Stadium hosted the championship games from 1974-98 but moved the 1999 championship games to Memorial Stadium in Champaign when Illinois State made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and wanted to host a first-round game. The state title games have been played in Champaign or Dekalb (Northern Illinois University) ever since.

Champaign, DeKalb and Carbondale put in bids to host the IHSA football finals from 2023-27, the IHSA revealed. Champaign, however, could only host the championships in three of the next five years due to the University of Illinois’ football schedule.

The U of I and NIU have served as rotating hosts since 2013 and it was apparent the IHSA was looking for a site that could be home to its eight-class championship games all five years of the contract. ISU’s indoor practice facility, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the college football season, was a contributing factor in the decision.

“We reviewed what they submitted to us. We went out on our site visits,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “At the end of the day, the central location of ISU, things they are doing with the indoor practice facility, had the board land back at Hancock Stadium. The board is excited about the perspective of being back because that’s where it started.”