Unified Basketball Championship Tournament

What Is Unified Basketball?

A Unified Basketball team is made up of 3 Special Olympics athletes, 2 Unified Partners and a non-playing adult coach.  The maximum roster for a team is 15 this includes Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners.  Please note that all travel expenses for your team for both the regional and state tournaments will be the responsibility of your school. There is a maximum of 3 Coach / Team Managers allowed per team.  There must be at least 1 adult coach registered.  There is a 4th adult slot if you will be bringing a team trainer.

View the 2022 IHSA-SOILL Unified Basketball program here.

Coach Requirements

Each coach is required to be an approved SOILL coach having completed the Class A Registration process.  This process includes 2 short online training (protective behaviors and concussion awareness) as well as a criminal background check. To check if you have a valid Class A on file or to complete a new Class A online click here:  https://www.soill.org/lookup_classa/   This will take approx. 20 minutes to complete.

Head coaches are required to take the NFHS Unified Sports Training.  This is a free online course and be found https://nfhslearn.com/courses/36000/coaching-unified-sports. It will take approximately 1 hour to complete.  If you do not already have an account, you will be prompted to create one.  Upon completion you will be provided with a certificate.  If you have completed the course in the last 5 years, your records are already on file.

Special Olympics Athlete Requirements

Each Special Olympics athlete will need to have a Special Olympics Illinois Medical Application on file.  This medical form is valid for three years from the physician signature. You can locate this form on the SOILL webiste here: https://www.soill.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/S1-9-English-Med-App-17.pdf A Special Olympics athlete is an individual with an intellectual disability.  A Special Olympics athlete participating in Unified Basketball can participate until the day before their 22nd birthday as long as they are enrolled in your school.

Unified Partner Requirements

Each Unified Partner will need to go through the volunteer screening process for Unified Partners and Class A Volunteers.  This process is entirely online.  Please ensure that each partner selects that they are registered as a Unified Partner in the beginning to avoid having to repeat the process.  To begin, simply click this link: https://www.soill.org/lookup_classa/  There are two different online trainings required and the link will walk you through step by step.  A Unified Partner is an individual without an intellectual disability that is enrolled in your school.

Competition Information

The games will be held as part of the IHSA State Boys Basketball Tournament – Champaign, IL.  Please note this is a NEW LOCATION!  We will be playing at the ARC (Activities and Recreation Center) on campus of the University of Illinois.  Address: 201 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820.

Games will be played at 1:00pm and 2:30 pm on Friday 3/11, and 9:00 and 11:00 on Saturday 3/12.  Each team will play twice, one time each day.  A copy of the tournament brackets with game times is in the Supporting Documents section of this page.

The tournament is divisioned based on scores from regional tournaments, submitted scores and ability level.  There are two divisions for the tournament.  These are seeded divisions. 

General information about the IHSA / SOILL Unified Tournament can be found on the IHSA homepage at www.ihsa.org   Live scoring updates will be provided during the games under the Unified Basketball section.  They are also working to create a program for the event and that location is where copies may be purchased. 

Uniforms – We encourage you to review IHSA Uniform requirements as teams will be expected to follow those requirements.  Special Olympics rule adaptions allow for more lenient exceptions in uniforms.  This is not the case for IHSA.  Some things we noticed at the regional tournaments include under shirt color, tights color as well as head band or wrist band color.  You must also have a home and away version of your uniform.  Please make sure your uniforms are in compliance with all IHSA requirements.

Team Managers/ Bench Numbers- Just a reminder that each team will allowed to have 1 Head Coach and either 2 Assistant Coaches OR 1 Assistant Coach and 1 Team Manager on the bench.  Individuals will be provided a credential as a manner of tracking who is eligible to be on the bench. 

Facility Information

For Friday- all campus lots (except for metered spaces) are permit only until 5 pm. Team buses with passes (each school will pick up their 1 pass at the ARC upon arrival) should park in E14 (SW Corner of First and Kirby Avenue across from State Farm Center). Enter via First Street. Spectators can park at metered spaces or at IHSA Boys Basketball lots (E 14 or four quadrants of State Farm Center). After 5 pm on Friday and all day on Saturday, parking at most campus lots are open. Buses and spectators can park free of charge. Best options would be lot E24 (Corner of First and Peabody Drive) and lot E15 (corner of 4th and E15). The lot across street from the ARC (E-38) is permit only 24 hours/7days.

We will NOT have access to individual Locker Rooms.  One male and one female locker room will be shared for all teams.  Teams can leave any belongings in the spare gym off of competition.   We will assign a section of the gym to each team. 

Event Details

On Friday during the semi-finals, the crew will be filming parts of the game and teams for packages they will put together for Saturday’s finals. This will not be a LIVE Stream. At some point, the reporters will approach you for an interview and maybe ask for a player or two as well. Please help the kids the best you can- this is a learning experience for them and they are super excited to broadcast your games.

On Saturday during the finals, they will start a stream at 8:50am before the first game, and remain live until the end of the awards ceremony after game two. The link to the broadcast is below, so please share it, tweet it, get it out to anyone who might want to watch your team in action!  Again, we will probably be interviewing you for the finals, so be ready for our reporters at halftime and at the end of the game. 

Here’s the link to the Finals Broadcast: https://youtu.be/0mWSNVA5PRE

Volunteer Information

Please check back closer to the event for more information.


Water Bottles – No refillable coolers will be available.  We will have a case of water for each team for each game.

Opening Ceremony

We ask that all teams arrive on Friday 3/11 by 12:15pm.  We will be hosting an Opening Ceremony at 12:30pm and will be incorporating some participation from all teams. 


Each team during the awards ceremony also invites administration to take part and receive an award. Typically this is the Principal, Asst. Principal, Athletic Director, Special Education Director.  Awards will be presented by members of the IHSA and Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors. 


Please check back closer to the event for more information.

COVID Procedures

All participants should self-screen prior to arriving at this event and should remain home if feeling unwell or displaying coronavirus symptoms.

Vaccination is not required to attend in person events.

SOILL will have hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/spray and other cleaning/sanitizing products on-site.

Please check with your Region staff on the status of spectators attending competitions.  The decision on allowing spectators is based on the facility being used for the competition, the rules they have and the amount of people above the number of registered athletes and coaches they can safely accommodate. It is very important you relay to all parents and guardians if spectators will be allowed at this competition.

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:


Supporting Documents

2022 State Unified Basketball Rosters

2022 State Unified Basketball Brackets

To see a complete list of all State Championship Competitions, click here.

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

Who We Are

Special Olympics 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 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 13,000 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.


Mar 11 - 12 2022


8:00 am - 6:00 pm




The Arc
201 E. Peabody, Champaign, IL 61821
Jennifer Kelso


Jennifer Kelso
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