State Basketball Championships


What is State Basketball?

State Basketball is one of 11 state sports competitions. It is the culminating competition for those participating in team and individual skills basketball. State Basketball is held at Horton Fieldhouse – ISU and the Shirk Center- IWU. Over 1,750 athletes will compete in this 3-day event and show off their winning form! The State Basketball Tournament is supported, in part, by a grant from the Shirk Family Foundation.

The 2020 State Basketball Tournament will be held from Friday March 13th through Sunday March 15th!


We are looking for volunteers to help out at this year’s State Basketball Competition. You can register online by selecting a day you are interested in working from below. Then you just need to sign in or create a profile if this is your first time volunteering for Special Olympics Illinois online.  If you are interested in bringing a group to volunteer please contact Nate Henry at 309-888-2551 or

Once you are logged in select shift(s) you want and click on “Complete Registration”. You will then be taken to a page where you can continue to register for more shifts. You do not have to go all the way back to the beginning of the process. Remain on this page and look for the event/day you would like to sign up for next. For more information you can view our Complete Step-by-Step Instructions.

Volunteer for State Basketball Today!


Competition is offered for teams and in individual skills.

Team Basketball

2014 State Basketball 2

The goal of Special Olympics Illinois is to create four team divisions whenever possible for all state tournament play.  In some cases, divisions of two or three teams must be designed in order to provide appropriate competition at state tournaments.  In such cases, special rules apply so that each team is given a fair and equal opportunity to achieve success.

In a four team bracket, each team plays two games. In a three team division all play is round robin style.  In these divisions, three games will be played with each team competing twice.  In a two team division all play is best two of three games.  Teams will be given adequate time to rest between games and should a division go to a third game, the final game will be highlighted for its championship status.

Individual Skills

Individual Skills Competition will be Saturday at Illinois State University’s Horton Field House. The Staging Area will be in the southeast corner of the Field House.  Individual Skills athletes will begin competing at 9:00am Saturday.  All traditional skills athletes will compete followed by the Young Athletes Skills competition.

Sports competition runs from Friday, March 13, to Sunday, March 15. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics State Basketball. Entrance to the tournament is free of charge.

Tentative Competition Times

All times listed below are tentative and subject to change once event specific schedules are determined.  For a final schedule please check the Supporting Documents section close to competition day.

  • Friday, 10am – 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 8am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday, 8am – 3:00pm

Young Athletes

Young Athletes from around the state will enjoy participating in basketball skills, socializing and so much more during the State Basketball tournament.

Young Athletes have the opportunity to participate in basketball skills on Saturday, March 14 at Illinois State University’s Horton Field House. Participating in exhibition events is a great way to help Young Athletes transition to the traditional Special Olympics program! To take part in the transitional exhibitions Young Athletes must have a valid Medical Application. For more information, please email

Family Program

The Family Leadership team has set up the following special events for families of athletes.

Registration, Information & Hospitality

Please encourage all family members to register at the Family Information/Registration Area at ISU Horton Field House and in the main lobby at IWU Shirk Center.  New families as well as our veteran families should stop by to let us know you are here and enter the raffle to win prizes.  Information on athlete’s teams and game schedules and community information will be available.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony will be in held in Horton Field House on Saturday, March 14 at 7:00pm.

Dances & Evening Entertainment

A dance and laser tag activity is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday nights.  Friday night entertainment will take place after dinner and run from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Saturday’s entertainment will begin shortly after the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony.  Activities on both evenings will take place in Horton Field House.


Souvenirs will be sold at both ISU and IWU venues.  Hours are 11:00am – 5:00pm on Friday and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday.  Items range from $3 to $55 and will include clothing and other traditional souvenir items.  The vendor will sell Basketball State Tournament specific t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Cash and most major credit cards are accepted for souvenir sales.  CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.  Souvenir items are offered by Minerva Promotions and a percentage of sales are given to Special Olympics Illinois.

You can save time and pre-order items and pick them up on-site.  Pre-order items can also be personalized.  On-site customization is offered at both venues.  Please click here: (State Basketball Interactive Souvenir Flier Interactive SO State Basketball 2020  or go to to view items and submit your pre-order.

Text Alerts & Event Status Updates

In case of inclement weather, schedule changes or cancellations check the website here for updates. Please sign up for the text alert.  This alert will send you any last minute changes in the State Basketball schedule. Please text “Basketball” to 844-393-0980 to receive State Basketball related text alerts.

Supporting Documents


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