The Big Ten announced this afternoon that Indianapolis will continue to play a major role in hosting Big Ten championships. The conference previously had announced that the 2011 game would be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the four year extension means that Indy will host the first five Big Ten football championships, through 2015. In men's basketball, Indy will host the 2012 tournament and then will alternate with Chicago through 2016. The women's tournament will be on the same rotation. While all of the games in Indianapolis, both for the men and women, will be at Conseco Fieldhouse, there will be a split. In Chicago. The men's games will be at the United Center, while the women's games will be at the Sears Center suburban Hoffman Estates.
I Think the Big Ten made a pretty good decision regarding football and men's basketball (I have no particular opinion about the women's tournament). In basketball, the games in Chicago have been better attended than in Indy, thanks in no small part to Illinois's success in Chicago-based tournaments and the general failure of IU or Purdue to do much in the event, Purdue's 2009 title excepted. Unlike with, say, the Big East and Madison Square Garden, there isn't a perfect fit for the Big Ten. Unquestionably, Chicago is the leading city in the Big Ten region. On the other hand, the setup in downtown Indianapolis compares favorably to that of Chicago and the United Center, which requires a car, train, or cab ride to any hotel and most entertainment districts. I think the alternating setup makes sense. As for football, there has been and will be lots of grumbling about how the Big Ten is a hard-nosed. Conference and should play the title game at Laumbeau Field every year and should manufacture snow if the real stuff isn't there. I tend to think that a level playing field isn't a bad thing for a conference championship game. Keep in mind that one of the reasons the Big Ten has been so successful at getting a second BCS bid over the years is because it hasn't had a title game. A conference title game guarantees that one of the league's best teams will be saddled with an extra loss. That is enough of a concern, but I would guess that the Big Ten is not particularly interested in seeing a national title appearance go by the wayside because of a fluke upset in a game played in a blizzard.