Kansas Shrine Bowl looking for new site after Washburn closes for the summer

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Shrine Bowl is looking for a new location after Washburn University announced the campus will be closed to outside events for the summer due to COVID-19.

The high school all-star football game, a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital for Children and their parents, was set to take place at Yager Stadium July 18.

"This is a tremendous setback for our event, but we certainly understand the concerns and ultimate decision made byWashburn University leadership," B.J. Harris, executive director of the Kansas Shrine Bowl, said.

Players from across the state typically stay in the residence halls and use dining facilities at the host site leading up to the game — those, too, will be closed at Washburn for the summer.

"We are disappointed that we will not be able to host the Shrine Bowl football game this year,” Washburn University president Jerry Farley said.. “However, we are proud to be a part of the important work of the network raising money to support Shriners Hospitals for Children.”

Topeka last hosted the event in 2013.

“We definitely hope to return to Topeka in the future," Harris said."There has been so much work already put in by so many wonderful people at Washburn, Visit Topeka, Ramada Inn and more. We hope to reward their efforts by bringing our event to the Capital City soon."

Now, the game's board of directors is looking for a new host location in time for the 2020 event.

"We're still hopeful we can find a venue and host city that hasn’t been impacted as greatly [by COVID-19] and might be closer to being able to accommodate a large event this summer," Harris said.

Along with the all-star game itself, the week of the Shrine Bowl also includes the Kansas Masonic All-State Marching Band Camp, Kansas Shrine Bowl All-Star Cheer Camp, Kansas' largest shrine parade, Sports-In-Kansas High School Football Combine, the Strong Legs Run 5K, Jr. All-Star Challenge, a golf tournament, and an appreciation banquet.