Founded in 1910 as a pep club to allow students to become more involved at home football games, Block I is one of the oldest student supports sections in the nation. It was originally formed to create a recognizable center for cheering in Memorial Stadium, as well as allow student participation during football games.
In 1924, Block I was moved from its original location to the east side of Memorial Stadium on the 40-yard line, where it remains to this day. In 1926, the Block began performing its trademark “Card Stunts” during games, another tradition that continues to this day during halftime of each and every home football game.
Before the 2004 season, the Block I was transferred from the control of the Illini Union Board to Illini Pride, in an effort to consolidate the student athletic booster organizations.
In 2007, as a part of the Illinois Renaissance renovation project, the Block I was relocated from its sideline location to a new “students-only” section in the North Endzone. With this move, the Block I was able to expand its membership to 1,800 members and extend its creativity to enhance the atmosphere of Memorial Stadium an make Illinois one of the toughest places to play in the Big 10.
Today’s Block I holds more than 1,800 of Illinois’ best football fans and uses over 8,000 cards to create various images and words throughout the season, from “Go Illini!”, to Gumby, to welcoming all the Illinois fathers on Dad’s Day, and everything in between. Block I is the heartbeat of Memorial Stadium. It creates the energy that gives the Fighting Illini a true home field advantage. With the continuing support of the great students who participate in Block I, this great University of Illinois will continue for years to come.