State Basketball Tournament

Special Olympics Illinois has made the decision to modify the schedule for the 2023 State Basketball Tournament.  The tournament is changing from a 3 day event to a 2 day event.  All junior teams, high school teams and female teams will compete and play all their games on Friday, March 10.  All senior male teams will compete and play all their games on Saturday, March 11. There are no changes for the individual skills competition.  All skills athletes will compete on Saturday.   Special Olympics Illinois will still offer evening activities on Friday and Saturday nights. . 

Special Olympics Illinois staff completed the registration process and determined that having only 100 teams,  compared to a more typical 140 teams, allowed for the tournament to be conducted using a 2 day format.  Many teams submitted scheduling requests that would allow them to play both their games on 1 day. Moving to a 2 day format also limits interaction between teams and spectators over multiple days.  Please view updated tournament information below and continue to check back for further updates as they become available.

The schedule will be posted on Friday, February 24th

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 nearly 2,000 athletes, 550 coaches and 350 volunteers. Additional activities include 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 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 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.  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 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 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

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

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 below.

  • Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Volunteer Information

Please click on the button below to register as a volunteer.

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony begins at 6:30pm on Saturday 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 6:15pm 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 9:30am to 4:00pm and on Saturday, from 9:00am to 4:00pm.  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 10  

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

Saturday, March 11 

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

6:30pm – 7:00pm Opening Ceremony – Horton Field House 

Victory Dance

There will be a Victory Dance and Laser Tag activity on Friday, March 10th and Saturday, March 11 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Horton Field House. 

Text Alerts and Event status Updates

Please text Basketball to 844-393-0980 to receive weather or emergency updates to the 2023 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

2023 State Basketball Handbook

2023 State Basketball Schedule Memo

2023 State Basketball Coach Proof – Updated 2/2423

2023 State Basketball Schedule, Division List, Skills Information

2023 State Basketball Registration Sites

2023 State Basketball Official Merchandise Flyer

Healthy Habits Station Information

Immersive Technology Flyer

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.


2023 State Basketball Results

2023 State Basketball Bracket Results

Who We Are

Special Olympics Illinois is a global organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport, every day around the world. Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 9,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.

COVID Procedures

Unless a venue has specific COVID protocols in place, Special Olympics Illinois is following Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC COVID protocols and guidelines. Please refer to event specific information or website page (if applicable) to determine if the venue has any specific COVID protocols.

Special Olympics Illinois is committed to providing the best athlete, volunteer, coach and supporter environment possible. While we are excited to resume in-person events, the health and well-being of our constituents remains our top priority. All of our in person events follow the COVID-19 recommended IDPH and CDC guidelines. 

Please review the COVID High-Risk fact sheet for more information.


Mar 10 - 11 2023


8:00 am - 5:00 pm




Horton Field House
180 N Adelaide St, Normal, IL 61761

Location 2

Shirk Center
302 E. Emerson St. Bloomington, IL 61701
Nate Henry


Nate Henry
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