State Basketball Tournament

What Is State Basketball?

The State Basketball Tournament is one of 13 state sports competitions. It is the championship level competition for those participating in team and individual skills basketball. The Young Athletes program offers an individual skills demonstration opportunity. The State Basketball Tournament is a typically a three-day event, usually held the second or third weekend of March in Bloomington-Normal.

The State Basketball Tournament typically includes nearly 2,500 athletes, 550 coaches and 350 volunteers. Additional activities include the Victory Dance, families registration, and souvenir sales.

Illinois State University’s Horton Fieldhouse has hosted the tournament since 1975 and the tournament expanded to include Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center in 2002. Basketball became an official Special Olympics Illinois sport in 1975.

Spectators are encouraged to attend this premiere state tournament to cheer on these extraordinary athletes.

Competition Information

Competition is offered for teams and in individual skills.

Team Basketball

Ideally, four-team divisions are formed for state tournament play whenever possible.  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 of two games. 

Individual Skills Individual skills competition will be Saturday at Metcalf Elementary School beginning at 9:00am. Please arrive 15 minutes before start time so your athletes can be staged in their appropriate divisions.  All traditional skills athletes will compete followed by the Young Athletes skills competition.

Young Athletes

Young Athletes have the opportunity to participate in basketball skills at Metcalf Elementary School. Participating in exhibition events is a great way to help Young Athletes transition to the traditional Special Olympics Illinois program. To take part in the transitional exhibitions, Young Athletes must have a valid medical application. For more information, please email youngathletes@soill.org.

Facility Information

Illinois State University
Horton Field House
Main & College Avenue
Normal, IL

Metcalf Elementary School 7000 S. University St. Normal, IL 61790

Illinois Wesleyan University
Shirk Center
302 E. Emerson
Bloomington, IL

Horton contains five courts and the Shirk Center contains six courts. Parking is available all around both facilities.

Event Details

The tournament will be held March 8-10, 2024 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at Illinois State University’s Horton Field House and Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center for team play. 

State Basketball Skills has moved to Metcalf Elementary, which is part of Illinois State University and a short walk from Horton Field House.  The address for  Metcalf is 7000 S University St, Normal, IL 61790, and there is parking available on-site.  Entrances are located on both sides of the facility.

Individual Skills Basketball competition will begin at 9:00 am on Saturday at Metcalf Elementary School.  Female, High School and Junior team divisions will begin competition on Friday, March 8 at 10:00 am at both the Horton Field House and the Shirk Center. Team competition for Female, High School and Junior Divisions will be played Friday, with some divisions finishing on Saturday morning.   Team competition for Senior Male divisions will be conducted at both facilities and will begin at 9:00 am on Saturday and Sunday, with games ending before lunch on Sunday, March 10. 

On February 23rd the final division list and schedules will be posted.  At this time, your agency will be assigned a registration site in order to receive your coach’s packet.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am on Friday, March 8h at both the Horton Field House and the Shirk Center.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am on Saturday, March 9 at Metcalf Elementary School, Horton Field House and the Shirk Center.  If your agency does not compete until later in the day, you can register at Tournament Central after 12:00 pm.

Teams and skills competition athletes and coaches competing at Horton Field House and Metcalf Elementary School will eat at Linkins Dining Center for lunch on Friday and Saturday.  All athletes and coaches will eat dinner at Linkins Dining Center on Friday evening and on Saturday evening.  Boxed lunches will be served on Friday and Saturday at Shirk Center for teams competing at Illinois Wesleyan University. 

Volunteer Information

For more information about volunteering at this event, please click here!

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony begins at 7:00 PM on Friday in Horton Field House. There will not be a Parade of Athletes and teams are not assigned space in the gathering area. Teams should arrive by 6:30pm and find a location to stand in the Ceremony area. The Ceremony will feature the Athlete Oath, a torch run including Law Enforcement personnel and the lighting of the cauldron. Families and spectator seating is in the balcony area above the main floor.  


Minerva Promotions is selling souvenirs at Horton Field House and the Shirk Center on Friday, from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM and on Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. State Basketball Tournament specific items will be sold.  Cash and most major credit cards are accepted. CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED. A percentage of sales are given to Special Olympics Illinois.

You can save time and pre-order items and pick them up on-site. Customization is offered for both pre-order and on-site sales. Pre-order deadline is February 22.

Please submit your preorder here.


Friday, March 8  

9:30 AM – 3:30 PM Registration/Information Center Open – ISU Horton Field House/IWU Shirk Center 

7:00 PM – 7:30 PM Opening Ceremony – Horton Field House

Saturday, March 9 

7:30 AM – 4:00 PM Registration/Information Center Open – ISU Horton Field House/IWU Shirk Center 

Victory Dance

7:30pm – 9:00pm Friday March 8th – Dance and Laser Tag – Horton Field House.

7:30pm – 9:00pm Saturday, March 9th – Dance and Bags – Horton Field House.

Text Alerts and Event status Updates

Please text Basketball to 844-393-0980 to receive weather or emergency updates to the 2024 State Basketball event. The Text Alert System is the primary method for communicating schedule changes or emergency tournament information.


Teams will be awarded after each team’s second game of competition. There are awards being performed at both Horton Field House and Shirk Center. Skills athletes will be awarded at Horton Field House immediately after each division finishes. 


Concessions will be available at both Horton Field House and Shirk Center.

Supporting Documents

Coaches – please look over the Coach Proof carefully and email Nate Henry – nhenry@soill.org with any changes.  Changes need to be made by Thursday, February 22, 2024. Changes to the athlete’s events will not be made at the tournament.  If the agency list has athletes who are not competing at this year’s tournament, please contact your Region Director so those athletes can be scratched. Please report any scratches to your Region Director as soon as possible. 

Those looking for lodging information in the Bloomington/Normal area can utilize Visit BN website here.

To see a complete list of all state championship competitions, click here.

To find out more information about the Knights of Columbus, which supports Special Olympics Illinois throughout the year, click here.


2024 State Basketball Results

Who We Are

About Special Olympics Illinois    

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit sports organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports to a community of more than 55,000 traditional athletes, Young Athletes, Unified partners, coaches, volunteers, and more. It strives to be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year-round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development. 

If you are interested in being a part of Special Olympics Illinois and its vision, contact your local region, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website. Follow Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and X.  


Mar 08 - 10 2024


8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Nate Henry


Nate Henry
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