State Football Offers Showcase For NIU

DEKALB-Northern Illinois University is the home of one of the hottest college football teams in the nation.  And this weekend it’ll also be home to the high school State Football Championships for the first time.  The payoff could be big for both.

The NIU Huskies already have recruits flocking to DeKalb thanks to a 25 game MAC winning streak and a recent appearance in the Orange Bowl.  And now they get to showcase their facilites and campus to top high school teams from all over Illinois in one big weekend.

"The University obviously wants people to see NIU," says NIU Director of Marketing Brad Hoey. "When you think about the demographics that’s going to be coming to DeKalb and Huskie Stadium that weekend it’s high school students and their families.  That’s what the university is all about."

"Having all those great teams and great programs here how’s that not a benefit," says NIU head football coach Rod Carey. "They get to see our stadium. See our campus. See our university. I think it serves a bunch of purposes that way."

"The impact on that from a recruitment standpoint, the exposure, it is an outstanding opportunity for both the campus as well as the surrounding community," says NIU Director of Athletics Sean Frazier.

NIU officials believe they have the facilities, the parking and the commitment to make the State Finals a success here. But they admit this year will be a learning experience.

"It’s our first time doing this, so there’s always going to be things that’ll crop up," says Hoey. "But what we want to do is be as prepared as we possibly can be."

The university will establish a spirit zone outside the stadium for the fans and the participating teams to be as fan-friendly as possible.

"We feel like we’ve added more fun things for our younger fans," says Tom Matya the host committee chairman. "We’ll have some blow up venues for them to use. The bottom line is we really want to make this an experience that the players, their parents and the fans won’t forget."

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