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Posted on Tue, May 17, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Big Ten is looking at Chicago and Indianapolis for future football and basketball championships

By Michael Rothstein

CHICAGO — The Big Ten Conference is down to two cities for its championship games, and both Chicago and Indianapolis made presentations Tuesday at the Palmer House.

Both cities pitched plans for hosting the three biggest Big Ten championships: football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball to league commissioner Jim Delany and the league’s athletic directors, among others.

“I thought it went well,” said broadcaster and Indiana Pacers vice president of player relations Clark Kellogg, who was part of the Indianapolis contingent. “It felt good but you never know. Kind of like broadcasting, though, sometimes it feels better than it is or it’s not as bad as you thought it was.”

Also part of the Indianapolis delegation were Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian.

The Indianapolis proposal included Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten football championship and Conseco Fieldhouse for the men’s and women’s basketball championships.

Currently, the 2011 football title game is slated for Lucas Oil and the basketball contract for Conseco runs out in 2012.

The Chicago proposal would have a football title game at Soldier Field, the men’s basketball tournament at the United Center and the women’s basketball tournament at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Chicago proposal was represented by three different entities.

The Chicago Parks Department presented football, the United Center presented basketball and Hoffman Estates presented women’s basketball.

Delany said, though, that all three tournaments do not need to be in the same city.

“We’re just wanting to have a competitive process, a good set of presentations and then we can sit down, deconstruct it and look at it from a perspective of ‘Do we have any questions,’” Delany said. “And what serves our best long-term interests.”

Most coaches said they didn’t have a preference for where the football title game would be held, although those with local ties expressed a desire for their hometowns.

“I’d like to see it in Chicago,” Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “The conference headquarters is here, we do most of our meetings here in Chicago. I’ve been to the venue not only for the NFC Championship game but also for a Bon Jovi concert.

“I think it’s just an unbelievable facility for football.”

One of the advantages for Chicago is a deep alumni base for each Big Ten school in the city. However the United Center can be tough to get to and hotels are a long walk to Soldier Field in December. Soldier Field would also be outside and in December, weather would almost certainly play a factor in the game.

At Indianapolis, everything is within walking distance and the entire downtown is compact. Lucas Oil Stadium also is an indoor facility. However the city has fewer flights and not as many alumni throughout the city.

“Close to home and under a roof,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “It’s exciting for me being at Purdue and I know our fans would really be excited about it. For us, that’s a no-brainer but that’s a selfish mode.”

Delany made it sound unlikely any other city would become involved in a championship bid at this time. He also said the university presidents are meeting in early June and hopes to have a decision within a couple weeks.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by email at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein


David Vande Bunte

Wed, May 18, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

I want weather to be a factor. Weather is a part of playing football. If its raining, it rains on both teams equally. If it's snowing, it snows on the offense and the defense alike. Wins in bad weather count just as much as wins in perfect weather as well. Teams like Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, MSU, Penn State, Nebraska, etc are northern/central teams. If they can't play in inclement weather, they don't belong in the Big Ten. We Big Ten fans sometimes mock those teams from down south because they only know how to play in 70 degrees and sunny weather, while our teams play in the rain, mud and snow. Okay, so why should our championship game be any different? Are we or are we not the Big Ten? Don't run from the weather, EMBRACE it. Point out that our teams are tough enough to play in the snow in December, that its easy to play indoors or down south with warm weather, but that our teams are MEN, who are tough. Isn't that the message we want to show the other conferences? That the Big Ten is TOUGHER? The Big Ten title game might be played in the snow? So what? The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will still have home games in December, and they still host playoff games in January at Soldier Field and Lambeau, outdoors. People still flock to the stadium, regardless of weather. Maybe I just have an old school mentality about this kind of stuff, but from my perspective, if the Big Ten is comprised of teams that play in cold weather, they should play in cold weather. Rotate the Big Ten championship game, if its bad weather, its bad weather, and you play in it regardless. Man up.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

Right on! Those admins need their swanky heated suites though.If the team is getting rained on any one who considers themselves a fan should be getting rained on too!


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 9:25 a.m.

Chicago? If they are going to play it outdoors, they should play it in a stadium that seats around 110,000. I know just the place...


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 5:02 a.m.

Yeah Treetown, I'm also mystified by the affinity for only Chicago and Indy. I mean what gives? Detroit can hold a Super Bowl but not the B1G Championship game, give me a break! Additionally, Ford Field is indoors, in December, Soldier Field could get reeeeeaaaallll ugly that time of year. I don't want to see a game of that importance affected by weather. Sounds to me like the Big Ten offices are just being lazy and want to avoid traveling themselves that time of year. Soldier Field would be a joke. That game needs to be indoors and there are a few options in that regard, you need to be fair Delaney! And indeed, Chicago is the most expensive city in the midwest to travel in.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

First,Clark Kellogg is dead to me. He is the oposite of relevant/ Now for seconds, heycommish, move it around to different regions, Ames Iowa deserves some revenue stream as much as Chicago, just like areas of Pennsylvania in comaprison to Indianpolis. Quit being so closed minded and short sigthed, market you conference on the broadest geographic scope possible. We already know its going to be on TV. Reserving these games for the center of the conference universe will not improve your recruiting and will not help your bottom line. That is afterall, the most important thing about collegiate sports these days, right? Oh, and if the most important thing is actually the development of the student athlete, maybe taking them to places where their measly dollars go further is a better alternative than the two priciest cities in the midwest you are courting now. Lastly, Ford field, the Big House, and even Spartan stadium, deserve an opportunity to showcase what hey have to offer.