IHSA looking for football playoff site

554590.jpg

IHSA looking for football playoff site

Will the finals of the 2013 state football playoff be conducted at Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Toyota Park or Northwestern?

The question was raised when the University of Illinois, host to the state finals since 1999, informed the Illinois High School Association that, beginning in 2013, an every-other-year conflict in Big 10 scheduling will force the finals to be played at a different venue.

The championship games were first played at Illinois State's Hancock Stadium in 1974. From 1981 to 1984, the finals in the two largest classes at the time, 5A and 6A, were moved to Northwestern's Dyche Stadium. They returned to ISU in 1985, then moved to Illinois' Memorial Stadium in Champaign in 1999.

"We wouldn't have left ISU but we were asked to leave," Hickman said. "They thought they would be hosting playoff games in their division but it never happened. In fact, I think our situation at Illinois helped ISU to accelerate its plans to renovate and expand its stadium."

Hickman said the deadline for filing proposals is early April. He said he expects proposals from ISU, NIU and Southern Illinois. He said he "wouldn't be surprised" to see a bid from Toyota Park in Chicago, home of the Chicago Fire soccer team. The IHSA will make a decision in June. And Northwestern might make a proposal if the IHSA agreed to split the playoff as it did in 1981-84.

"If I had my choice, I would keep going to Illinois," Hickman said. "We have gotten spoiled with the renovations and facilities and accommodations and the convenience for parking. But, wherever we end up, it will be great."

To meet specifications to host the state finals, sites must agree to a five-year contract (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021), have seating for at least 12,000, artificial turf and lights.

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Matt Szczur or Tommy La Stella on the Cubs Opening Day roster?

How about both?

Theo Epstein said Wednesday morning the Cubs plan to keep both Szczur and La Stella on the Opening Day 25-man roster with relief pitcher Brian Duensing headed to the disabled list.

Duensing, 34, has been hampered by a back issue this spring.

Szczur is out of minor-league options, meaning the Cubs would have had to either keep him on the 25-man roster or place him on waivers, which would almost assuredly mean they'd lose him to another team.

La Stella has options left and already told manager Joe Maddon this spring he would head down to the minors if asked (something La Stella was unwilling to do in August last year when he refused assignment).

The move makes the most sense for the Cubs, as the need for eight relief pitchers is not as imperative in April when the team has five off-days in the first month of the season.

Of course, the Cubs still have four days left of exhibition action, but assuming nothing else changes, here's how the Cubs roster will look Opening Night in St. Louis Sunday:

Catchers

Willson Contreras
Miguel Montero

Infielders

Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist
Javy Baez
Addison Russell
Kris Bryant
Tommy La Stella

Outfielders

Jason Heyward
Albert Almora
Jon Jay
Kyle Schwarber
Matt Szczur

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester
Jake Arrieta
John Lackey
Brett Anderson
Kyle Hendricks

Relief pitchers

Mike Montgomery
Justin Grimm
Carl Edwards Jr.
Pedro Strop
Hector Rondon
Koji Uehara
Wade Davis

The Cubs figure to eventually make room for Duensing on the roster as the bullpen could use another left-handed pitcher, but those decisions often take care of themselves with either health problems or trade options, etc.

Remember, there is a 10-day disabled list this year in the MLB, so placing a guy on the DL doesn't guarantee losing him for more than two weeks anymore.

Live stream: Fire introduce Bastian Schweinsteiger on CSN+ at 3 p.m.

Live stream: Fire introduce Bastian Schweinsteiger on CSN+ at 3 p.m.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is officially a member of the Chicago Fire after he passed his medical and finalized the required paperwork for his transfer from Manchester United.

The newest member of the Fire will be introduced formally on Wednesday afternoon. 

[RELATED: Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger]

Schweinsteiger's introductory press conference from the Fire Pitch will air on CSN+ and stream live on CSNChicago.com at 3 p.m.

CSNChicago.com will have complete reaction, video and analysis following Schweinsteiger's press conference on Wednesday.